In this article, Des Morrison, chairperson of the ICMSA’s livestock committee, explores why EU beef prices are rising, and UK beef prices are stable at a time when Irish beef prices are falling.
I am once again pointing to the bluntly suspicious development that has beef prices either rising or stable all over Europe – except for Ireland.
Yet again, Irish factories – uniquely in Europe – had managed to find a reason to cut the prices they paid to the farmer.
Falling beef prices
The average reported Irish R3 steer price as of August 6th, 2022, was €4.81/kg excluding VAT, which was down 42c/kg from June 25th, six weeks previously.
Over the same period, the EU price for young bulls increased 7c/kg from €4.91/kg to €4.98/kg excluding VAT, whilst the UK steer price remained at €5.22/kg ex VAT.
Why is Ireland yet again the exception where our prices fall? Every market we sell into or bear any comparison to has either stable or rising prices, but our factories have cut the price they pay us.
Every enquiry and review into our beef sector just comes up against this mystery where our beef prices seem to be deliberately disconnected from everyone else’s, and we want to know why.
The Irish average prices recorded for R3 prime male cattle in the same period in 2021 was 38c above the European average, so that the fall year-on-year is even more drastic and mysterious.
The very least that Irish beef producers deserve is the EU average price, and Irish processors need to get up to that immediately.
“Steady” is how the LMC (Livestock and Meat Commission) described the beef trade (prices) across Northern Ireland last week (August 2022).
Base quotes from local processors for in-spec U-3 grade steers and heifers stood at 410-424p/kg this week.
Despite a downward trajectory in recent weeks, it expects plants to place between 412-434p/kg on the table this week.
Meanwhile, quotes for O+3 grade cows varied from 330-374p/kg in NI last week. Unlike the expected increase in prime cattle prices, it expects quotes to vary from 330-360p/kg this week.
Read more on this news article.