IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said cattle prices were hardening this week with feeders digging in and demanding more from the factories. He said factories were finding it much harder to get tighter supplies and having to pay at least 5c/kg above the quoted prices. “Factories are paying €4.15/kg base to get steers and €4.20 to €4.25/kg base to get heifers. Feeders are not prepared to part with cattle at the lower quoted base prices.”
Henry Burns said farmers should hold out strongly and insist on higher prices over and above the quotes on offer. He said having gone through several months of expensive feeding, farmers should insist on the full value for their stock.
Henry Burns said against a backdrop where cattle supplies in 2015 will be back 120/150,000 head, feeders know that supplies are going to get tighter and they need to dig in hard on price with the factories.
The IFA Livestock leader said, based on the official prices from Department of Agriculture, it is clear that prices are holding up well over the last few weeks despite the negative propaganda from the factories. He said the official R=3= steer price for week ending March 8th was €4.21/kg, which was back just 1c/kg on the previous week. The official R=3= heifer price paid for w/e March 3rd was €4.33/kg. For bulls, the Department figures show the factories paid an average of €4.25 for Us, €4.13 for Rs and €3.95/kg for 0s.
Henry Burns said the live export trade is increasing rapidly with a total of 7,241 head exported in the week ending March 1st. He said calf exports have increased significantly in the last week, accounting for over 66% or 4,822 head. Exports of adult cattle totalled 1,743 head last week with weanlings and stores totalling 326 and 350 head respectively.
Henry Burns said IFA is working hard on live exports, with a delegation from Holland in the country later this week. In addition, he said exporters and shippers are working on the trade to North Africa and IFA is hopeful of positive developments over the next number of weeks.
The IFA Livestock leader said there are more encouraging signs that the EU live trade to Turkey could re-emerge strongly with about 40,000 head of younger stock exported in the last 3 months. In addition there are talks that the live trade for finished cattle to Turkey may reopen soon. He said this could be a major boost for the bull trade in France and Germany.
On market beef prices, Henry Burns said any slight weakness in the UK market has been more than compensated for by the continuing strength of sterling against the €uro. He said the change in sterling from 80p to 72.5p against the €uro is worth an additional 52c/kg in returns from GB or about €187 per head.
Henry Burns said market prices across the UK and the EU remain firm, with the British price at the equivalent of €5.34/kg for an R4L steer incl. of vat. Up the road in Northern Ireland, Henry Burns said R3 steers are making the equivalent of €5.15/kg incl. vat. Prices have improved in Italy, with Bord Bia reporting R3 bulls up another 5c/kg to €4.10/kg incl. vat. In Germany, R3 bulls are making €4.23/kg incl vat.
The IFA Livestock Leader said cow prices remain very firm reflecting the overall strength of the market. Cows are ranging from €3.40/3.50 for P grades to €3.90/4.00 for U grades.