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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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€3.50/kg for good-quality R/U grade cows – IFA

Beef prices are “steady” at €3.80 to €3.85/kg for bullocks, and €3.85 to €3.90kg for heifers, with higher deals for larger and specialist lots.

That is according to IFA national livestock chairman, Brendan Golden, who firmly believes that beef price “needs to push on”.

Beef prices steady

He said cow prices are starting at €3/kg for P grades and moving up to €3.50/kg for good quality R/U grading cows, O grades are making €3.10 to €3.30/kg.

Furthermore, he added that R/U grading young bulls are making €3.75 to €3.95/kg.

80,000 fewer cattle available for slaughter in 2021 – predictions

The IFA livestock chairman said market conditions are strong, underpinned by high volume and value of sales of beef in supermarkets, and tight supplies of finished cattle.

“Projections are for 80,000 fewer cattle to be available for slaughter this year compared to 2020. When the strong performance of beef in supermarkets is factored in, where both volume and price have shown huge growth, this creates a positive market environment that must be reflected in beef prices to farmers,” he said.

Break-even price of €4.50/kg

Golden said Irish prices are just about keeping pace with the Prime Export composite price, which reflects the market conditions in our main markets.

“The Prime Irish Composite price is currently reported at €3.73/kg (excl. Vat) which is 3c above the Prime Export Benchmark price of €3.70/kg and must continue to push on,” he said.

The breakeven price is €4.50/kg, according to Teagasc, and Brendan Golden said we are “still a long way from that”.

Meanwhile, Limerick County Independent TD, Richard O’Donoghue, echoed this view during a Dáil debate last week. He raised the matter during a Dáil debate on the fishing industry on Thursday, January 21st.

O’Donoghue said that he has “huge” concerns over the fact that beef cattle are “now averaging €3.75 per kg”. This, he stressed, is “well below” the breakeven beef price target figure of €4.50/kg.

“What controls are going to be out in place to stop the cartel-like system that the factories are operating?” he asked.

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