IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Michael Doran said that cattle prices have started to move and feeders should now dig in and insist on an immediate and substantial price increase across the board.
Michael Doran said supplies have tightened considerably this week and agents and factories are now chasing cattle. He said €3.40/kg base price is now being paid for steers and €3.42/kg to €3.50/kg is being paid for bulls and heifers.
Michael Doran said with a significant dry up in the numbers, feeders are in a much stronger position with the factories. He said it is expected that numbers will continue to tighten over the next number of weeks. “The latest CMMS data for December 1st 2010 shows that there are 320,000 less cattle in the country. In the male 18 to 24 age category, numbers are down by over 95,000 head alone.”
On the market side, Michael Doran said there has been a substantial lift in steak prices over the last 10 days. “In the UK, the penny is beginning to drop that supplies are going to be extremely tight and prices are rising.” In addition, Michael Doran said there is no longer a cheap supply source from South America as their prices are at EU levels.
In terms of processor returns Michael Doran said there is major scope at factory level for prices to rise. As well as strong beef prices, hides prices have now moved up to €50/head, equivalent to 14c/kg on the carcase. Offals are also highly valuable and worth another €60 to €70/head.