Livestock Reports

Livestock Council Report September 2020

Market Report

  • Latest Beef Price Update: 31/08/2020. Steers €3.60/3.65. Heifers €3.60/3.65. Some deals for higher being done. Cows €3.00/3.50/kg.
  • Supplies. 34,359 cattle slaughtered in week 34 (17/08/2020 – 23/08/2020), of which steers were 16,928 (49%), heifers 9,168 (27%), young bulls 1,486 (4%) and cows 6,104 (18%). Total YTD slaughter is 1,120,898 compared to 1,146,908 in 2019, a 2.3% decrease.
  • Official Prices. Week 34 (17/08/20 – 23/08/20) Irish R3 steer prices were €3.87/kg incl vat. Heifers R3 €3.95/kg. Y Bulls O/R/U €3.49/€3.65/€3.79/kg. Cows O/R €3.10/3.32/kg.
  • GB Cattle Prices as Reported by AHBD. The average UK R3 steer price for last week was at £3.82/kg, equivalent to €4.27/kg
  • Beef Market Tracking:
  • Official cattle prices reported to the EU Commission. Wk 34 (17/08/2020 – 23/08/2020). R3 Young Bulls c/kg excl vat; EU Average €3.50/kg, Ireland (R3 Steers) €3.74/kg, Germany €3.65/kg, France €3.62/kg, Spain €3.31/kg, Austria €3.50/kg Italy €3.47/kg, Poland €3.04/kg.
  • Live Exports. 2580 cattle were exported in the week ending 22/08/2020. 1,459 of which went to Northern Ireland.
  • Keep up to date on all IFA work and prices on

50 million Beef Finishers Payment

  • Former Minister Dara Calleary announced the details of the Beef Finishers Payment (BFP) on Wednesday 5th of August 2020.
  • The BFP was announced in recognition of the negative impact Covid-19 had on Irish beef prices. This impact was developed further by restrictions preventing them getting cattle to market and the closure of the food service market.
  • The BFP will be funded by the Irish exchequer and has been notified to the European Commission in accordance with the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework.
  • It has been estimated that 42,000 farmers will be eligible to apply for the payment.
  • The significant economic activity of beef farmers and strong multiplier effect in rural communities was noted in the DAFM announcement.
  • Key Information: 
    • Applications: Opening date 19th August 2020. Closing date 9th September 2020.
    • Payment: €100 per eligible animal. Subject to a linear cut if over subscription occurs.
    • Reference Period: Applies to cattle slaughtered from the 1st February to 12th June 2020.
    • Conditions: Limit of 100 animals per herd. Applicant must be a member of the Bord Bia Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme or apply to become a member before the 30th of September 2020.
    • ‘Eligible Animals’ Slaughtered:
    • Slaughtered in the reference period of 1 February to 12 June 2020.
    • Aged 8 months or more when slaughtered
    • Resident on the qualifying herd for at least 30 days prior to slaughter (if not the previous owner is eligible for payment if they are an applicant and have had the animal for over 30 days on their holding)
    • Animals identified on the Department systems as presented for slaughter by or on behalf of a factory will not be eligible.
    • Subject to a cap on payments in respect of 100 eligible animals per herd.
    • Eligible Applicants: 
    • A farmer who has presented animals for slaughter in the reference period
    • The holder of an active herd number with Herd Owner Status.
    • Farming a holding in respect of which a valid Basic Payment Scheme application has been submitted in 2020 to the Department.
    • Agent or Dealer herd numbers are not eligible for payment
    • Conditionality: Applicant must be a member of the Bord Bia Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme at the time of application, or undertake to become a member of a quality scheme prior to 30 September 2020.

Bord Bia Grass-fed standard and PGI

  • Since last the National Council Meeting, grass fed standard agreed with Bord Bia
  • The IFA made it very clear that there needs to be more consultation with farmers and much more clarity around many aspects of the proposal.
  • IFA highlighted some key issues including ownership and guarantees that price premiums will be paid back to farmers.
  • Since that meeting, Bord Bia have published their PGI Product Specification Document.
  • Main issues with proposed application for PGI status for Irish Grass Fed beef:
    • Ownership: Farmer ownership of the PGI is crucial.
    • Animals: Does not include all grades and young bulls have been excluded despite commitments previously made by Bord Bia that all categories of animals would be included if they met the grass-fed criteria.
    • Grass fed Criteria: The criteria state that in order to be deemed grass fed beef the animal must spend a minimum of 220days per year grazing. It also states that hay and silage are accepted as a grass-based diet. This begs the question: why the need for the minimum number of days grazing? This will be of particular importance for farmers in parts of the country that regularly have to deal with ongoing poor weather conditions.
    • Farm to Abattoir: The use of registered and approved hauliers only adds cost at farm level. There should be no issue with farmers transporting their own animals to the abattoir. In addition, Bord Bia have suggested that animals must go to a factory less than two hours away from the farm. This restricts a farmer’s ability to get the best possible price available, placing more power in the hands of the factories.
    • Colour: Bord Bia have added an extra layer of inspections, in the abattoir, assessing if the beef will meet a new colour criteria. The colour criteria call for ’cherry red colour’ and a ‘creaminess’ of fat, yet another hurdle for farmers in their attempt to get a fair price.
    • No return to farmer: Bord Bia confirmed to the Farming Independent that it does not have any research that shows European consumers will pay a premium for Irish grass-fed beef.
    • Finally, there are a variety of other technical aspects of the proposal that need clarification. As the proposal currently stands, it only adds another hoop for farmers to jump through, with no guaranteed returns.

Activity since last Council

  • Strong lobby on terms and conditions of beef finisher scheme.
  • Advertisement and campaign encouraging farmers to apply to Beef Finishers Payment
  • Step-by-step guide and dedicated hub to aid farmers in BFP application
  • Meeting with ICBF to discuss BDGP requirements to ensure farmers meet all requirements to receive full payment.
  • Campaign for cattle price
  • Meeting with MII.
  • Encouraging farmers to sell under finished cattle in marts.

Upcoming Issues

  • Campaign for cattle price.
  • Meeting with DAFM on all livestock related schemes.
  • Advertising to ensure full €50million Beef Finishers Payment is taken up.
  • EU Beef and Sheep update: Weekly report outlining market, main issues and action for distribution on website, app and via WhatsApp groups.
  • Encouraging farmers to sell under finished cattle in marts.
ChairBrendan Golden
Policy OfficerAnn Daly

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