IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said cattle prices are moving in the right direction and feeders are expecting strong price increases over the coming weeks as supplies tighten and UK prices continue to increase.
This week, he said steers are making a base of €4.00/kg and €4.05/kg is being paid to get numbers. Heifers are on a base of €4.10/kg with €4.15/kg paid in places.
Angus Woods said a number of factory procurement managers have indicated that they expect finished cattle supplies to tighten considerably in the coming weeks. He said, “Procurement managers and agents are saying that, based on their usual supply lines, they don’t know where they are going to get finished cattle in 10 days to 2 weeks’ time and they expect prices will rise significantly.”
The IFA livestock leader pointed out that cattle prices in our main export market in the UK have turned the corner and are rising. He said the AHBD have reported that for week ended March 24th prices have recorded their fourth consecutive week of rises, and are now 14p/kg above last year’s levels with processors actively looking for supplies to come forward.
Angus Woods said cattle prices in the UK are now the equivalent of €4.43/kg including VAT for an R3 grade steer. He said UK prices have increased to £3.88/kg over recent weeks. “With cattle prices in our main export market in the UK equivalent to €4.43/kg, there is significant potential for factories to increase prices to feeders. Across the main EU Continental market cattle prices also remain strong, with R3 young bulls in Germany making the equivalent of €4.27/kg including VAT and €4.13/kg in Italy and Spain.”
Live exports going well
The IFA National Livestock Chairman said live cattle exports are going well so far this year with numbers up 8% to 67,951 head to week ending March 25th. He said this is the really busy time of year for calf exports and to date this year a total of 56,165 calves have been exported with the main market destinations being the Netherlands and Spain.
Angus Woods said weekly calf exports are exceeding 10,000 head per week and this is necessary during these key weeks, to move numbers in line with last year’s levels. With the increase in dairy cow numbers, Ireland needs to be targeting well in excess of 100,000 head of calf exports. He said the ferry arrangements are back to normal and he added Minister Creed and the Department of Agriculture and Stena had worked well over the last number of weeks in accommodating the trade during a very busy period.
Angus Woods said third country live exports have also got off to a positive start this year with 4,492 cattle exported. He said two boat loads have been shipped to Turkey and another shipment has gone to Libya. In addition, Angus woods said exporters are currently buying heavier bulls for a shipment in April.
The IFA livestock leader said with the proper support and encouragement, the Turkish market, which has an overall live import requirement of over 500,000 head, has the potential to take up to 100,000 head of live animals from Ireland. He said, “IFA and Bord Bia visited this market and there is no doubt there is major potential for Irish live exports. Turkish feeders we met were very complementary of the quality of stock from Ireland.”