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The EU aid package finalised last week includes exceptional aid for farmers in dairy and other livestock sectors.

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IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods has said it is essential that more resources are provided to assist the live export trade on market access.

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IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said access to new markets in the US and China are a real priority for the Irish Beef sector. Henry Burns said Minister Coveney and the Government must prioritise work in this area and turn the announcements into real market access as soon as possible.

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IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said there was a more positive tone to the beef market this week and factories are having to pay 5c/kg over the quoted base price for steers of €3.95/kg to get stock. He said the improved weather and tightening supplies are lifting the trade with more farmers insisting on a base of €4.00/kg for steers and €4.10/kg for heifers.

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IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns has said cattle supplies at the factories are very tight with procurement managers and agents ringing farmers looking for stock and cutting deals above the quoted price to get cattle. He said agents are saying that they are unable to buy the cattle at the lower quoted prices of €4.25 for steers and €4.35 for heifers and are having to part with €4.30 and €4.40/kg.

Henry Burns said some agents have tried the lower prices and failed to fill loads with some saying they got the easy few but most lads are digging in hard and insisting on the €4.30 and €4.40, especially outside the few southern counties. He said some agents have just given up on the lower quoted and reverted to €4.30 and €4.40 to get stock. In contrast, he said some factories are putting out the impression that they have adequate numbers.

The facts are that the kill is currently running at 29,470 head per week.Total slaughtering’s are already down about 40,000 head. The latest AIMS data from Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture shows that cattle numbers on June 1st in the 12 to 36 month age categories are down 100,000 head, compared to 2014. Bord Bia are forecasting that finished cattle supplies will be back by up to 100,000 head over the next 12 months. Henry Burns said this will leave supplies very scarce into the autumn and the end of the year.

The IFA Livestock leader said the market remains very solid with the UK reporting another price lift of 2p/kg for week July 18th. R4L prices in the UK for steers are reported at £3.66/kg, which is equivalent to €5.50/kg. He said the UK trade is being driven by the strength of sterling. At an exchange rate of 71p/€ compared to 80p this time last year, this change is worth 60c/kg in additional returns.

The IFA Livestock leader pointed out that the official prices from the Department of Agriculture continue to show increases with R3 steers at €4.40/kg for week ending July 26th and heifers at €4.52/kg. Official bull prices are at €4.14/kg for Os, €4.33/kg for Rs and €4.45/kg for Us. Henry Burns pointed that cow price is ranging from €3.76/kg for P+ to €3.83 for Os, €4.02 for Rs and €4.15 for U grades. These prices for steers, heifers and cows are all showing a 2c/kg increase from the previous week.

An analysis of some of the official Department paid prices from the factories show that some plants paid an average of €4.49/kg for R=3= steers and an average of €4.66/kg for R=3= heifers. He said this shows that factories are paying way over the quoted prices to get stock. In addition it shows that producers with quality stock, getting the in spec bonuses are getting well rewarded.

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