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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 trade: Factories and agents working ‘hard’ to secure supplies

Update on beef prices March 2021 

According to Brendan Golden, IFA national livestock chairman, beef prices are strengthening as factories and agents “work hard” to secure supplies.

He noted that steers are making €3.80/kg with a base of €3.85/kg for heifers this week. Golden reported higher deals for larger and specialist lots.

Furthermore, the cow trade also strengthened this week, ranging from €3.00/kg to €3.50/kg. Some plants are paying some higher prices, he added.

Besides, young bulls are making €3.65 to €3.95/kg – depending on grade.

He said prices in livestock marts for finished and forward store cattle and cows are “strong”, providing a “real competitive alternative” for some farmers.

Vaccine roll-out and foodservice sector

Golden outlined market conditions are strong for beef and are expected to improve, supplies of cattle are tight and factories must “return the full value of the marketplace in increased beef prices”.

He said the Easter demand and the returning foodservice sector in the UK and throughout the EU as vaccines are rolled out will further drive demand for beef.

Golden added that the strong performance of beef in supermarkets is reflecting changes in consumer purchasing habits.

Predictions for the year are of tight supplies of finished cattle in Ireland, the UK and the EU. He believes this creates “favourable” market conditions for Irish beef, which must be reflected in prices.

13c behind Benchmark price

Meanwhile, the farm group’s president, Tim Cullinan, has stated that “beef prices must push on and reflect the reality of the marketplace”.

“At last night’s IFA online beef meeting, attended by 250 farmers, the fact that the Irish price is now 13c behind the Bord Bia Prime Export Benchmark price was highlighted, which is based on a weighted composite price in our main export markets,” he said.

“Minister McConalogue outlined the importance of greater transparency in the supply chain. He must now come forward with the primary legislation that allows the Office of the Food Ombudsman/Regulator source and provide this information independently,” he added.


Golden revealed that at last night’s meeting farmers expressed disbelief that the EU Commission is attempting to proceed with the Mercosur deal with South American countries.

“It is unbelievable that following Brexit and the added environmental and production controls the EU are imposing on Irish farmers through the CAP that they are looking at allowing more beef into the EU market to further undermine Irish and EU farmers.”

“We will be meeting the Tánaiste and Minister for Trade Leo Varadkar shortly to put the strongest message across that the Irish Government must oppose the deal,” he concluded.

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