Livestock Reports

Livestock Council Report May 2024

1. Market Report  

Market Report 

  • Beef Price: Steers are making from €5.15kg to €5.30/kg. Heifers are making €5.20/kg to €5.35/kg with higher deals for larger lots and increased off season breed bonuses paid. Young Bulls are ranging from €5.25kg to €5.50/kg for R/U grades. Cows are making €4.20kg to €5.00/kg. 
  • DAFM Reported Prices week ending 28/04//2024: R3 steer prices for the latest week has not changed at €5.40/kg, R3 heifer price decreased by 1c/kg to €5.52/kg. R3 young bull prices remains unchanged at €5.32/kg. O3 grading cows are up 1c/kg to €4.45/kg, R3 grading cows are up 4c/kg to €4.92/kg. 
  • Composite prices: The latest Irish prime composite cattle price and the prime Export Benchmark on April 20th, 2024 were equivalent to €5.17kg and €5.13/kg deadweight respectfully.  
  • GB Cattle Prices as reported by AHDB: Prices in GB for R3 steers has not changed at 4.93p/kg for the latest week. R3 Heifers decreased by 0.08p/kg to £492.2/kg for week ending April 27th 2024. 

          Supply Figures as Reported by DAFM – Week 17 (22.04.2024) 

Supply Figures as Reported by DAFM – WK 17 (22.04.2024) 
Animal Number Change prev wk % of total YTD YTD Change 
Y Bulls 1,703 ▲197 6%     41,493 ▼-1,513  
Bull 672 ▼-28  2%       8,020              ▼-134 
Steer 12,603 ▼-226  37%  207,604 ▲4,998 
Cow 8,019 ▼-365 23% 146,207 ▲18,440 
Heifer 9,907 ▼-65 30% 175,111 ▲8.590 
Veal-V 880 ▼-152 2% 17,118 ▼-13,218  
Veal-Z 32 ▼-13 0% 878 ▲81 
Total 33,816 ▼-652 100% 596,431 ▲17,244 
  • Supplies:  Total throughput to date in 2024 stands at 596,431 head up 17,244 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 been relatively steady over the past number of weeks with strong appetite from factories for all categories of cattle. European young bull prices have held relatively stable in the early weeks of 2024. The average reported price for R3 grading young bulls was €5.02/kg (excluding VAT) for the week ending April 21st 2024. This is the same as Week 16 last year. Tighter cattle supplies and firm demand have meant deadweight beef prices in the UK and EU have remained strong. 
  • Live Exports: 144,353 cattle exported during the first 16 weeks of 2024. This is back 7% from 2023 levels but on par with trade levels in the same period in 2022. The reduction recorded so far this year is primarily due to a delayed start to the calf export season and some weather interruptions to the trade. The Netherlands remains the largest market outlet for Irish calves so far in 2024 with 47,434 animals traded, a 34% reduction from year earlier levels. Spain remains an important market for stronger beef sired calves in particular with 31,496 animals traded so far this year, a 10 per cent increase from the same period last year. 

2.  Activity since last National Council 

  • Met with the Dept of Agriculture on the new proposed suckler scheme in January. 
  • Livestock committee meeting convened in January and April. 
  • Livestock committee update meetings convened in January and February. 
  • Attended the Bord Bia Board meeting in February. 
  • Met with Bord Bia in February/March and April on the Origin Green Producer Standard Review. 
  • Attended the Copa Working party meeting on beef and veal in March. 
  • Attended the ICBF stakeholder forum in February, April and May. 
  • Meet with Breed Societies on New ICBF Indices. 
  • Attended the ICBF AGM in April. 
  • Attended Donegal, Monaghan, Laois and Wexford Co. Executives. 
  • Attended the farmers charter meetings. 
  • Weekly publication of IFA cattle price updates. 

3.  Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme 

  • 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. 
  • Farmers are required to complete an online SCEP training course by November 15th. 
  • There are 7 modules which all must be completed in full, together with a short quiz at the end of the modules, to fully comply with the requirements of the training. Farmers must complete all 7 modules by Friday 15 November 2024. 
  • The modules include; Introduction, Programme Eligibility, Breeding Strategies, Genotyping, Weight Recording, Calving Details and Surveys and Farm and Livestock Safety. 
  • IFA have raised concerns with DAFM regarding ease of access to the platform provided for a significant cohort of suckler farmers and sought the provision of additional means for participants to complete the training course. 

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 at €35/animal and vaccination at €15/animal 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 Indices 

  • IFA participated in the ICBF stakeholder forum meetings in February, April and May to address the concerns with the new indices. 
  • IFA secured significant flexibilities to SCEP requirements related to the indices, ensuring no farmers are negatively impacted by the changes in November. 
  • Effectively animals now have the benefit of both indices to meet the criteria.  
  • Female calves born in herds since the new indices were published where they do not meet SCEP eligibility, these animals will be deemed SCEP eligible if the dam was 3,4, or 5 star and the sire 4 and 5 star on the replacement index. They will carry this eligibility when purchased from either a SCEP or non-SCEP herd 
  • Any female animals whose star rating on the September 2023 index was 4 or 5 star and subsequently dropped on the new index will retain SCEP eligibility when purchased from SCEP and non-SCEP herds for the duration of the scheme. 
  • The same criteria are applied for Pedigree Bulls which had a 4 or 5 star rating in the September index that dropped on the new index.  These animals will retain SCEP eligible when purchased from SCEP and non-SCEP farms. 
  • As with the previous scheme animals that attained SCEP eligibility at any point retains this while remaining within the herd of the participant. 
  • The lower weights issue in the indices has also been addressed, with the minimum weight set at 520kgs at 200 days after calving which equates to a mature cow weight of 570kgs. This will now be incorporated into the indices. 
  • Work is progressing on the development of an index that reflects weanling production systems 
  • Discussions are on-going on the inclusion of carbon in the index 
  • IFA will continue to engage with ICBF with the objective of delivering an index that has the trust and confidence of suckler farmers and pedigree breeders. 

6. Review of Bord Bia Origin Green Producer Standard 

  • IFA continue to engage with Bord Bia on the Origin Green Producer Standard review. 
  • Current discussions are on-going on Module D which includes Animal Welfare. 
  • IFA have raised concerns at the direction of travel of the Bord Bia proposals in relation to all elements of the standard and of the inspection process 
  • Further direct engagement with Bord Bia n the issue is planned 

8. On-going events 

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

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