This week’s base prices of €4.20/kg for steers and €4.25/kg for heifers are “a long way short of the market”.
That is according to IFA livestock chairman Brendan Golden, who reported that some plants have moved to increase quotes by 5-10c/kg this week.
He said despite the increases, prices are “still lagging” behind the returns from Ireland’s key export markets where prices “continue their strong growth”.
He pointed to the latest Prime Export Benchmark price of €4.24/kg, now 13c/kg above Ireland’s prime composite price.
Golden said since the beginning of October, the Prime Export Benchmark price has increased by 12c/kg to its current levels.
“Over the same period, factories have held our prices stagnant, which is completely unjustified in the current market.”
“Factories are paying up to €4.35/kg for steers and €4.40/kg for heifers for specialist and larger lots.”
“Young bulls are making €4.15/kg to €4.30/kg. Culls cows are ranging from €3.50/kg to €4.00/kg,” he said,” he added.
‘Extremely’ tight supplies of finished cattle
Furthermore, he reported that supplies of finished cattle are “extremely tight”. He added that last week’s kill dropped to 35,652, down 2,000 cattle in the past fortnight. More specifically, the steer kill alone was down 1,600 head in the past week.
“Based on supply predictions from Bord Bia, which have been very accurate to-date, numbers of finished cattle available to factories over the coming weeks will be limited and farmers should take full advantage to drive prices on.”
Golden said factories are filling lucrative Christmas orders as demand for beef “heats up in our key markets”.
“Supplies of suitable cattle are extremely tight here and in the UK,” he added.
He advises farmers to “dig in and sell hard to push factories into paying the prices justified in the marketplace”.
Concluding, the IFA rep said factories must come forward with prices that reflect the reality of the marketplace and increased production costs as beef farmers experience “unsustainable input price inflation”.
See more beef price updates.