Farmers should demand immediate beef price increases to reflect the market’s strength, the removal of Brexit uncertainty, and the growing demand for beef.
That is the view of IFA national livestock chairman, Brendan Golden, who believes “factories have no excuses left”.
He spoke following the UK Government’s announcement of a revised timetable for SPS checks and controls. He said this removes uncertainty in Ireland’s key export for the coming months.
“Factories can continue to access the market without the uncertainty of the impact of additional checks and controls that were scheduled for April and July.”
“This is a very positive development for beef sales, and the clarity must be returned in higher prices to farmers.”
He reiterated that there will be no new impediments to Ireland’s trade with the UK in the coming months.
On the back of this, he believes the strong demand for beef in that market must come through in beef prices.
He described the additional access to the Japanese market for minced beef as a “positive development” for beef exports. Once again, he believes this must translate into higher returns.
Golden said numbers are tight, and UK supplies are predicted to drop by 5% in 2021. Besides, beef sales in supermarkets continue to show both volume and value growth.
“Easter will increase demand in supermarkets, and the gradual re-opening of the foodservice sector as vaccinations are rolled out will further increase demand for beef.”
12c/kg price gap
The latest Prime Export Benchmark price shows continued growth in Ireland’s key markets for beef, rising by a further 1c/kg to €3.83/kg.
The Irish Prime Composite price rose by 2c/kg for the same period to €3.71/kg. Golden said this still leaves an “unacceptable” price gap of 12c/kg, which factories must close.
Beef factories – This week’s prices
He said factories are paying €3.80/kg for steers, up to €3.90/kg for heifers this week.
According to Golden, factories are “prepared to do deals for larger numbers” above these levels, including paying increased breed bonuses.
According to Golden, beef factories are quoting €3.70/kg to €3.95/kg. He reported that cows are selling from €3.00/kg to €3.50/kg – depending on grade.