Speaking at the IFA Livestock meeting in Mullingar this week, IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said cattle prices have turned the corner. He said with very tight supplies, down 5,500 head per week on last year, cattle farmers are determined to get more and are insisting on a base price of €4.00/kg base for steers and €4.10/kg base for heifers. He said some factories had parted with these prices to get very scarce supplies this week.
Henry Burns said with the Department of Agriculture official figures showing that finished cattle supplies in the 24 to 36 month age group are back by 70,000 head compared to this time last year, the availability of prime steers and heifers to the factories heading into the peak Christmas demand will be extremely tight. He said with cattle prices in our main export market in Britain over the equivalent of €5.00/kg, it is clear cattle prices can rise.
The IFA Livestock leader said with additional numbers of young cattle in the system, it is essential that Minister Coveney turns the announcements on the opening of new markets into real market outlets that take real volumes. He said the lack of progress on opening the US market for manufacturing beef was disappointing and Ireland was losing out on a real higher price opportunity this year.
Henry Burns said to secure new market outlets to deal with additional numbers in 2016/2017, Ireland needs to focus on securing additional live export outlets as well as opening new beef markets. He said there were real live market opportunities in markets like Egypt, Libya, Turkey, the Lebanon and other North African countries. Henry Burns said there was increasing optimism around the possibility of something positive with live exports to Egypt and this needs to be fully facilitated and supported.