Update on 2022 beef prices
Beef prices remain strong, but input costs are “eating into margins”.
That is according to IFA livestock chairman, Brendan Golden, who said demand for beef in Ireland’s key export markets is “extremely strong”.
He pointed out that cattle supplies in the UK since the start of the year are running 10% below last year’s levels.
Therefore, he believes this provides a “real” opportunity for factories to increase prices to farmers.
He added that Prime Export Benchmark Price has surged over the past few weeks. It is now 4c/kg above our price, indicating the “strength” of demand for beef in both the UK and EU markets.
2022 beef prices
He reported that beef prices have increased again this week. Firstly, he stated that steers now starting at a base price of €4.40/kg in most factories, and heifers are starting at €4.45/kg.
“Factories are paying 5c to 10c/kg above quotes to secure cattle. This is pushing prices to €4.50/kg and €4.55/kg, respectively,” he explained.
“Demand for cull cows is strong, based on the demand for manufacturing beef, with cull cows starting at €3.70/kg for P grades and pushing to €4.20/kg for good quality R/U grades.”
“O grading cows, in general, are ranging from €3.80/kg to €4.00/kg. R/U grading young bulls are making from €4.30/kg to €4.45/kg.”
“All in, prices for some cattle have brought €5/kg very much into play, and this must be the target.”
“While cattle prices are stronger than last year, the reality is production cost increases have eroded all of these gains. “
Based on Teagasc estimates, on some beef farms, fertiliser and feed costs alone are increasing production prices by 65c/kg.
Sell hard as beef demand is ‘strong’
Golden said beef farmers are not able to absorb these cost increases.
Therefore, he said factories must return the full value of the “strengthening” beef market to farmers in price increases.
He advises farmers to “sell hard” as supplies are tight in Ireland’s key markets, demand for beef is strong, and factory agents are very active on the ground in trying to source cattle.
Golden said this demand is feeding into mart sales. He said prices for finished and forward store cattle and cows are “very competitive” compared to prices some plants are offering.
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