IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Henry Burns said strong beef prices will continue, driven by tight supplies and very buoyant demand in the market. He said the higher prices are required and farmers will struggle to cover the exceptional high feed costs this spring.
Henry Burns said beef consumption figures for both the UK and our own domestic market are very positive. In addition with the latest EU beef forecast predicting lower production in major countries like France and Italy, the beef trade should remain positive.
The IFA Livestock leader said the base price for steers had moved up to €4.35/4.40 and for heifers €4.50/4.60. He said bulls are making €4.35/kg and cow prices had also improved. Henry Burns said the increase in the In-spec payment bonus at the beef factories from 6c/kg to 12c/kg under the Quality Payment System is a positive move and reflective of market change. Flat prices of €4.70/4.80/kg have been paid for Angus and Hereford heifers, which are in very strong demand.
Henry Burns said with better rewards for In spec stock, farmers will respond to quality assurance and other In-spec issues. He made it clear that there is no weight restrictions involved under the QPS.IFA is working hard to get more farmers into the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme. Henry Burns strongly criticised some factories for attempting to impose excessive penalties on non-quality stock or out of spec stock. He said this negative approach was damaging the positive work to increase participation.
The IFA livestock leader said the factories need to go a step further and reward all stock from quality assured farms. He said discriminating against some stock works against the Quality Assurance Scheme at farm level. In addition, Henry Burns said the factories need to show flexibility to accommodate the sale of finished stock through the livestock marts.
On live exports, Henry Burns said the news is also positive with another major exporter actively buying Continental and Friesian cross bulls for another boat to sail to Libya in mid-April. Weights are in the range of 300kg to 430kg. “This is positive following on from the successful shipment of 2,850 cattle to Libya in February.”