Livestock Reports

Livestock Council Report February 2024

1. Market Report  

Market Report 

  • Beef Price: Steers are making from €5.20 to €5.30/kg. Heifers are making €5.25/kg to €5.35/kg with higher deals for larger lots and increased off season breed bonuses paid. Young Bulls are ranging from €5.20 to €5.50/kg for R/U grades. Cows are making €4.20 to €5.00/kg. 
  • DAFM Reported Prices week ending 28/01//2024: R3 steer prices for the latest week increased by 2c/kg to €5.40/kg, R3 heifer price increased by 3c/kg to €5.46/kg. R3 young bull prices increased by 4c/kg to €5.28/kg. O3 grading cows are up 5c/kg to €4.36/kg, R3 grading cows are up 8c/kg to €4.80/kg. 
  • Composite prices: The latest Irish prime composite cattle price and the prime Export Benchmark on January 20th, 2024 were equivalent to €5.15kg and €5.10/kg deadweight respectfully.  
  • GB Cattle Prices as reported by AHDB: Prices in GB for R3 steers increased by .07p/kg in the latest week bringing the price to £5.00.3/kg. R3 Heifers increased by 01p/kg to £499.3/kg for week ending January 27th 2023. 

          Supply Figures as Reported by DAFM – Week 4 (28.01.2024) 

Supply Figures as Reported by DAFM – WK 04 (29.01.2024) 
Animal Number Change prev wk % of total YTD YTD Change 
Y Bulls 3,654 ▲932 10% 12,506 ▼-1,913  
Bull 399 ▼-68  1% 1,429 ▲232 
Steer 11,772 ▼-336  33% 45,801 ▲2,280 
Cow 9,396 ▲275 26% 34,364 ▲3,230 
Heifer 10,936 ▲172 30% 42,274 ▲1,258 
Veal-V ▲6 0% 44 ▼-13  
Veal-Z 31 ▲0 0% 126 ▼-108  
Total 36,195 ▲981 100% 136,544 ▲3,665 
  • Supplies:  Total throughput to date in 2024 stands at 136,544 head up 3,665 head from the corresponding week in 2023. Bord Bia supply forecasts for 2024 predict a 30,000 to 40,000 head or a 2% fall in the number of finished cattle available for the year. The EU beef herd is also forecasted by the EU Commission to decline by a further 1% in 2024.   
  • Market Conditions: Cattle prices have increased steadily over the past two months with strong appetite from factories for all categories of cattle. Demand for beef in our key export markets remains strong driven by a tight supply of beef around Europe. The total value of primary beef exports in 2023 was estimated at €2.7 billion, an increase of 2% from 2022.  
  • Live Exports: 2023 was a particularly strong year for live exports with over 320,000 cattle exported. There has been a strong start to the year with a total of 7,496 live cattle exported out of Ireland comparing to just 825 cattle in the corresponding three-week period in 2023. While the live export trade remains under intense scrutiny the short-term outlook remains positive for all categories of cattle. Tightening cattle numbers across Europe are expected to contribute to steady demand for Irish cattle during 2024. 

2.  Activity since last National Council 

  • Met with the Dept of Agriculture on beef/suckler schemes in November. 
  • Livestock committee meeting convened in December and January. 
  • Met with Bord Bia in January on the Origin Green Producer Standard Review. 
  • Livestock committee update meeting convened in January. 
  • Met with the Dept of Agriculture on the new suckler scheme for 2024 in January. 
  • Attended the ICBF stakeholder forum in February. 
  • Meet with Breed Societies on New ICBF Indices. 
  • Weekly publication of IFA cattle price updates. 

3.  Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme 

  • IFA secured flexibilities for SCEP participants for female offspring of genotyped animals that do not become eligible for SCEP based on their own new evaluations.  
  • Where the dam was 3, 4 or 5-star and the sire 4 or 5-star on the Replacement Index, this female offspring will be considered “SCEP eligible” for the duration of the scheme. 
  • This is in addition to the previously announced recognition of females maintaining their star rating for SCEP within their current herd. 
  • IFA have sought further flexibilities which would allow both male and female animals moving from their current herd to retain their SCEP eligibility in the new herd.  
  • A funding allocation of €52m was provided for the SCEP scheme in 2023 with a payment of €150 per suckler cow available on the first 22 cows and €120/cow on the remainder. 
  • 17,637 farmers are currently participating in the scheme with an average reference number of 25 cows. There are currently 441,346 cows eligible for payment. 
  • Closing date for submission of Calving Details and Surveys is 15th February annually. Data will not be accepted after this date. 
  • SCEP participants can emend their yearly reference number via Deadline for amendments is February 19th 2024. 

4.  New Suckler scheme for 2024 

  • A funding allocation of €20m was provided for a new suckler scheme in budget 2024. 
  • IFA met with the Dept of Agriculture in January to discuss terms and conditions for the new scheme. 
  • A payment of €50 per suckler cow will be available to participants of the scheme. 
  • The scheme is anticipated to open in July for applications with 100% payments made in December 2024. 
  • IFA continue to engage with the DAFM on the rollout of the scheme.  
  • Measures proposed include meal feeding and vaccination with an upper limit of 40 animals. 
  • IFA have sought the removal of the upper limit on numbers of animals eligible within a herd. 

5. Changes to ICBF Terminal and Replacement Indices 

  • IFA attended the first stakeholder Forum meeting to address the concerns with the new indices. 
  • IFA have set out the issues that must be addressed to resolve the concerns with the indices. 
  • These include; 
  • Removing star ratings. 
  • Developing an index that reflects suckler weanling production systems. 
  • Reviewing all of the traits, weightings and data sets in the new index, incl. Cow weights, maintenance costs, weanling production, carbon, TB, data sources…, 
  • It is vital this process resolves the concerns raised and ensures all suckler farmers trust the data and information they are presented with for their animals. 
  • The next meeting will take place on the 22nd February. 

6. Review of Bord Bia Origin Green Producer Standard 

  • IFA categorically rejected at the September meeting of the TAC the Bord Bia proposal to include as a ‘Recommendation’ in the producer standard that all animals would be purchased from QA farms. 
  • The next module to be discussed is Module D which incorporates Animal Welfare. 
  • The first meeting on this section is due to take place on 21st March. 

7. National Genotype Programme 

  • Funding for 800,000 genotype samples has been provided to the programme in year 1, with €23m of BAR funding allocated to the scheme. 200,000 of these are allocated to suckler herds.  IFA has sought an alignment between the SCEP and the proposed National Genotyping programme both in terms of requirements and genotype costs to farmers. 

8. On-going events 

  • €300 Suckler cow payment, €100 rearing and finishing payment and €100 calf rearing scheme. 
  • Livestock committee meeting scheduled for April. 
  • On-going contact with DAFM regarding suckler schemes. 
  • Weekly publication of IFA beef price updates. 
  • On-going discussion with DAFM re new dairy beef scheme for 2024. 
  • Utilisation of €20m suckler scheme. 
  • Bord Bia Origin Green Producer Standard review. 
  • On-going contact with Bord Bia. 
  • On-going contact with MII. 

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