IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said cattle supplies at the factories remain very scarce and both agents and procurement managers are scaremongering on price to try to frighten farmers out with stock. He said, “The reality for any farmer who has been in a factory lairage over the last two weeks is that numbers are extremely tight and factories are crying out for stock.”
Angus Woods said the market demand is very buoyant and the UK market very strong, with cattle prices in Britain equivalent to €4.51/kg including VAT. In addition, he said the World Cup will add to demand in the UK and across the EU over the next month.
The IFA livestock leader said cattle supplies will remain tight for the next number of weeks and the forecast for the second half of 2018 is very similar to last year. He said the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture AIMS data show that as of April 1st male cattle numbers in the 12 to 24 month age category are down 25,000 head compared to last year, and up 23,000 head in the 24 to 36 month age group.
He said with the kill up over 20,000 head to date this year, a large number of this older group could already be sold. On the female beef cattle side, he said there was an additional 7,000 in the 24 to 36 month age group and an extra 21,000 in the 12 to 24 month age category.
In addition, Angus Woods said the potential for the live export trade to move more young bulls and heifers this year looks positive
Angus Woods said the recent EU Beef Forecast Group meeting in Brussels are predicting a more positive outlook on beef and have revised their figures to show a contraction in production for 2018 by -0.4% and have also forecasted an increase in consumption by +0.3%. He said this is a positive turnaround for the sector. The EU is forecasting male bovines will increase in price by +1.3% and cow prices will increase by +3.8%.