Seven Reasons Why Farmers Should Resist Factory Pressure on Cattle Prices

Cattle in Wicklow Field

IFA President Joe Healy said there is no market basis for pressure on cattle prices at this time. He said the move by the factories to pull quotes and talk down the trade is an attempt to force out very tight supplies of prime cattle.

The IFA President said prices in our main market in the UK continue to rise and the factories are finding it very difficult to get adequate numbers of prime cattle to fill very strong market demand.

  1. Steer base prices are currently €4.10/4.15/kg and heifers are €4.20/4.25/kg, with some top prices of €4.30 paid.
  2. UK cattle prices are up 14p/kg or 17c/kg since April 1st. UK prices are running 40p/kg or 48c/kg ahead of this time last year.
  3. UK cattle prices (R3) steers are £3.70, which is equivalent to €4.48/kg incl vat at an exchange of 87p/€.
  4. Irish slaughterings are running 30,209 head above last year.
  5. Despite numbers being higher, carcase weights are down this year. For the first four months, steer weights are back 9.6kg.
  6. In addition, live exports are very strong this year, up 35,000 head at 116,000 head. Over 90,000 calves have been exported and exports to Turkey are also very strong. Purcells currently are filling a contract for 20,000 head. It is expected there will be further contracts as the year progresses.
  7. Grass growth is very strong and cattle are thriving well, with no pressure on farmers to sell.

Joe Healy said UK beef prices have risen each week for the last 10 weeks in a row by over 16c/kg and are currently at the equivalent of €4.48/kg. He said these price increases outweigh any change in the sterling exchange rate. In addition he said beef demand across all other markets is also very strong and there is no beef in store.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said lighter carcase weights and a strong live export trade will help to negate the impact of higher numbers for the second half of the year.

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