Livestock Reports

Livestock Council Report December 2020

Market Report

  • Beef Price: Price up 5/10c this week. Steers €3.65/70. Heifers €3.70/75, some deals above this. Young Bulls €3.45-3.75/kg. Cows €2.80/3.30/kg. 
  • Supplies: 36,837 cattle processed in week 47 (16/11/2020), down 2,425 on previous week. Steers 14,301 down 1,145, Heifers 12,224 down 1473, young bulls 2,763, up 333 and cows 8,346 down 125. Total YTD slaughter is 1,616,996 compared to 1,574,440 in 2019
  • DAFM reported Irish Prices. Week 46 (09/11/2020-15/11/2020) R3 steer €3.79/kg, Heifer R3 €3.86/kg. Y Bulls R3 €3.62/kg. Cows O3 €2.84
  • GB Cattle Prices as reported by AHDB.14/11/20 The average GB R4L steer price for last week of £3.86/kg, equivalent to €4.57/kg incl. vat., up 4p/kg or 5c/kg equivalent.
  • EU Cattle Prices. W/e 15/11/20. R3 Y Bull, vat incl. equivalent, Italy €3.85/kg, Germany €3.59/kg, France €3.60/kg, Spain €3.34/kg, Poland €3.02
  • Beef Market Tracking: Prime Irish Composite Price 10c/kg below Prime Export Benchmark Price

Supermarket trade: The supermarket trade in the UK continues to perform strongly for beef. The 3 key measures of volume, price and spend show growth in the 52- and 12-week period analysis

Market Conditions: The current market conditions justify stronger factory prices for farmers. In our main market, the UK, supermarket demand on the lead in to Christmas has strengthened further, GB cattle prices are increasing week on week. There is no justification for Irish prices to be 10c/kg below the Prime Export Benchmark Price. In spec cattle numbers are tight. Factories must close the gap with prices in the UK, the 5-10c/kg price rise this week does not go far enough. Factories must deliver real price increases that reflect the strength of our main market.

  • Live Exports. 2,868 cattle were exported in the week ending 9/11/2020. Live exports for 2020 to-date amount to 248,311 compared to 279,621 in 2019.
  • IFA have met the Minister for Agriculture and Teagasc on live exports for 2021
  • IFA have highlighted to the Minister the importance of ensuring our access to the EU market for live animals on ferry crossings is maintained and the possibility of air transport to access these and new markets is developed
  • IFA have identified to the Minister the importance of protecting existing markets for our live exports and of developing others to maintain vital competition for beef farmers
  • Keep up to date on all IFA work and prices on


  • Highlighted again to the Minister for Agriculture the critical importance of maintaining unhindered access to the UK market for beef post BREXIT

CAP (see update on CAP report for details)

  • Discussions are currently in trialogues with the EU institutions
  • IFA livestock committee will be engaging with the Department on the formulation of the National Strategic Plans for 2023 onwards

50 million Beef Finishers Payment

  • Payments under the BFP commenced on Wednesday 18th November 2020. 
  • €46.6m issued to 27,200 farmers who applied to the scheme
  • IFA have called for cattle exported for slaughter during the reference period to be included in the scheme given the underspend


  • IFA met with DAFM and sought the provision of up-to-date statements for farmers that are easy to follow to measure compliance for the BEAM scheme 5% reduction. 
  • These are critical payments for farmers, which was delivered by IFA following an intensive campaign highlighting the impact of Brexit on beef prices.
  • IFA have called on the Department of Agriculture to make this information available as soon as possible to avoid any market disruption or farmers inadvertently failing to comply with the requirement.


  • Latest figures indicate almost 530,000 cow and calf pairs in approx. 24,000 herds have carried out measures in the scheme 
  • IFA have called on the Minister for Agriculture to confirm farmers who have implemented all measures in the scheme will receive their full payment with no linear cuts
  • IFA will be meeting the Department of Agriculture to discuss the 2021 scheme


  • IFA sought a grace period for farmers to meet the 50% female replacement criteria
  • IFA are seeking flexibility on the tolerances for farmers within 1 animal of meeting the 90% compliance for the female replacement criteria to significantly reduce the level of penalties
  • IFA will be meeting DAFM on the roll-over of the scheme for 2021

Marts in Level 5

  • In advance of the Government implementing Level 5 restrictions IFA highlighted the importance of ensuring the mart trade and the meat processors were facilitated in continuing to function as close to normal as is possible to avoid any disruption to the marketing of animals
  • Following the announcement of the Level 5 restrictions and the operating procedures for marts IFA the made a detailed submission to the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to facilitate purchasers at mart sales. 
  • Over the 450,000 cattle are traded through the marts in the October to December period.
  • 385,000 of these cattle were sold in October and November in 2019, with weanling sales the main driver of numbers.
  • The online bidding system worked well in some marts, however, there are huge concerns about marts operating exclusively under this system, and in particular at the time of year when throughput is at peak numbers.
  • IFA called for the facilitation of a strictly limited number of buyers around the ring, with full Government guidelines for social distancing and the wearing of masks applied.

BovINE Event 

  • The BovINE network links farmers, advisors, researchers, and all other relevant stakeholders, across nine EU member states, to stimulate exchange of knowledge and ideas to address solutions to the challenges faced by the beef sector.
  • Teagasc are the coordinators for Ireland of the project which IFA are partners in
  • BovINE held its first National Beef Event via Zoom on Tuesday October 20th and had 150 attendees.

Brendan Golden – Chair

Anna Daly – Policy Executive

Tomas Bourke – Senior Policy Executive

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