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93,000 fewer cattle aged over 12-months in system

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On the basis of a presentation by Bord Bia on the beef market outlook, cattle numbers in the second half of 2020 are certainly grounds for optimism for beef producers.  

That is according to the president of the ICMSA, Pat McCormack, who spoke following the latest meeting of the Beef Taskforce.

He said that Bord Bia confirmed that as of May 1st, 2020, the number of male cattle over 12 months of age is 68,000 fewer than May 1st, 2019 and in the case of beef female cattle, 25,000 fewer.

In total, this is 93,000 fewer cattle over 12 months of age for the rest of this year.

“Cattle supplies should be tighter than 2019 providing a level of advantage for the primary producer.”

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“In addition, while beef demand has taken a hit due to Covid-19, with restrictions being relaxed across the EU, there is certainly optimism that demand levels will recover over the rest of the year providing a reasonable market outlook for beef that has to be translated into better prices for farmers.” the farm leader added.

Beef price rise needed

He said that there appears to be opportunities for live exports over the remainder of the year and resources will have to be allocated to support this “hugely important” element of competition.

“In the short-term, it is quite clear that beef prices have moved forward in our main UK market, and our prices must follow suit immediately”, he said.”

PGI proposal 

In relation to the PGI proposal, Mr. McCormack said that it was confirmed at last Thursday’s Beef Taskforce that no additional requirements will be placed on farmers in relation to this application, no new rules or regulations.  

“The Irish beef sector has the opportunity to get PGI status on over 70% of the beef we produce based on the fact that it is a grass-based unique product.”

“ICMSA’s opinion is that, as a sector, we would be very foolish as a sector not to grasp this opportunity given that it also provides a greater level of protection under trade agreements.”

“We are going to have to factor in a potential Mercusor agreement down the line and we have to look at every opportunity to protect our primary beef producers. “

He said that while nobody can give any guarantees, an increased market price should flow back from some markets and – given where prices are now – “we really have to look at every way of improving farmer beef prices”.

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