According to IFA national livestock chairman, Brendan Golden, beef prices continue to rise as “factories struggle to meet demand”.
He reported that steers at making €4.05 to €4.10/kg and heifers €4.10 to €4.20/kg base prices, with “higher deals available”.
Meanwhile, R/U grade young bulls are making €4.00 to €4.30/kg. “Cull cow demand is very strong, with prices for P grades starting at €3.25/kg and moving upwards depending on numbers. O grades are starting at €3.30/kg, with good quality continental cows making €3.50/kg to €3.70/kg.”
“The gap with the Prime Export Tracker Price has closed in the last week, but increasing UK prices and the additional demand from the foodservice sector there for beef is driving the trade. Farmers should sell hard in favourable market conditions,” he said.
120,000 fewer cattle
Golden said the updated cattle supply projection provided by Bord Bia points to tighter supplies of finished cattle for the year.
Golden said the revised figures predict cattle numbers will be some 120,000 fewer this year compared to 2020.
The projection is based on a number of factors, including the very strong export performance of forward store and finished cattle to NI so far this year. This trend, he added, is expected to continue, where exports to date are up 117% on last year to 24,513.
“Coupled with the estimated 5% reduction in the UK kill for the year, this points to strong and favourable market conditions for Irish beef, which must be maximised by factories here and returned in beef prices to farmers,” he said.
He added that the full re-opening of the foodservice sector in mid-May in the UK will increase demand for Irish beef in particular, as the favoured supplier to this key market.
Beef prices Northern Ireland
According to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), the deadweight cattle trade “remained steady” in Northern Ireland this week.
The commission reported that factories paid between 368-380p/kg for in-spec U-3 grade prime cattle.
“The trade for good quality O+3 cows also remained steady with base quotes this week ranging from 265-290p/kg. Similar quotes are expected for all types of cattle early next week.”