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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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Beef prices strengthen as finished cattle supplies ‘extremely tight’

Beef prices have strengthened in recent days as tight supplies and strong farmer resistance to the lower and unjustified quotes from factories takes effect.

Those are the words of IFA livestock chairman, Brendan Golden, who believes factories must reverse the price drops of recent weeks and reflect the full value of the marketplace in cattle prices.

The Prime Export Benchmark Price for the latest week is steady at €3.76/kg. Meanwhile, the equivalent Irish price dropped 5c/kg, which, he added, underlines how unjustified the price cuts are.

Beef prices strengthen

Steers are making €3.75 to €3.80/kg, with €3.80 to €3.85/kg for heifers. Furthermore, the cow trade is “steady”, ranging from €2.90 for P grades to €3.40/kg for R and U grades with some higher prices.

Young bulls are ranging from €3.60 to €3.80/kg for R and U grades.

Sterling strengthening 

Golden said IFA left MII in no doubt in its meeting that undermining of the marketplace by meat factories will not be tolerated and beef prices must reflect the full value of key markets.

“Supplies of finished cattle are extremely tight. UK slaughter-fit cattle are predicted to be back 5% this year and sterling has continued to strengthen since the end of January. It’s currently at 86p, creating positive market conditions for Irish beef,” he said.

“While sterling is strengthening, it’s still almost 20% behind the pre-Brexit vote levels and impacting directly on incomes for beef farmers.”

“This is further compounded by sub-standard imports that are allowed into the EU to undermine our key market. The Mercosur trade deal that will allow an additional 100,000t of substandard product into our key markets must be stopped,” he added.

He stressed that the Brexit Adjustment Fund must prioritise beef farmers who have “borne the brunt” of the Brexit impact.

Golden said winter finishers are also dealing with the impact of increasing input supplies as he noted that the breakeven price estimated by Teagasc at €4.50/kg is a “long way from current prices”.

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