Farmers should stand firm and insist on a minimum of at least €4/kg in light of soaring retail demand for beef and the easing of Brexit uncertainty, according to ICSA beef chair, Edmund Graham.
“While €4/kg still does not cover the cost of production, it is the absolute minimum required to work towards a viable price.”
Difference of €150/head between Irish and UK prices
Graham said there is no justification for the continued price differential between Irish and UK prices.
The difference, which stands at around €150/hd is a “real kick in the teeth” for Irish producers and increasing prices to at least the €4 mark is the “only thing that will eliminate that differential”.
€4.50/kg to cover cost of production
“Teagasc figures illustrate that farmers need at least €4.50/kg to cover the cost of production, and that is just to break even.”
“It’s just not good enough when increased demand for beef at retail level does not filter down to benefit primary producers in any meaningful way.”
“We have seen that most foodservice outlets have been well able to respond to the demand for delivery and take away options, plus we have seen the growth in retail demand.”
“It all adds up to processors running out of excuses for failing to lift prices significantly. They can’t blame lockdowns and they can’t blame Brexit, so the time has come for farmers not to accept those arguments and to demand a decent price.”
Last year’s kill came in at over 60,000 head higher than the 2019 levels. Farm groups have said that earlier movement of animals in 2019, is likely to have a significant impact on numbers of slaughter fit cattle in the period ahead.
This week, prices for steers have moved to a base of €3.75/kg with a base of €3.80/kg for heifers.
Cow prices have also strengthened and are ranging from €2.90/kg to €3.40/kg.
Furthermore, the young bull trade has improved with R/U grading bulls ranging from €3.70 to €3.80/kg.