“Market conditions are favourable, supplies are tight, and farmers should continue to bargain hard.”
That is according to IFA livestock chairman, Brendan Golden, who said market conditions for beef should be “favourable” for the rest of 2021.
Golden outlined that supplies of finished cattle will be tight for the rest of the year. He highlighted that numbers are back to date by more than 67,000 head.
The annual kill is predicted to be back a further 50,000 head by year-end. He said there will be 110,000-120,000 fewer slaughter cattle available than in 2020.
“The strong performance of the live export trade to Northern Ireland for store and finished cattle, which is expected to continue into the back end of the year, is adding strong competition for farmers and ensuring numbers of finished cattle will be tight up to year-end.”
“Forty-two thousand six hundred and fifty-five cattle have been exported to NI this year, increasing from 13,896 in 2020,” he said.
In the UK market, production is predicted to be back at least 4% for the year by combining reduced numbers and lighter carcase weights at slaughter.
Import demand is expected to strengthen over the coming months as the foodservice sector returns to normal trading conditions. Irish beef has a strong foothold in this sector.
EU prices have strengthened over the past week. Overall production for the year is predicted to be down, providing further opportunity for Irish beef exports.
The Chinese demand for protein, redirecting South American beef exports from the EU market, ensures the market is functioning strongly for Irish beef when not undermined by these imports.
“The favourable market conditions in our main export markets are expected to continue for the year. This must be reflected in prices paid to farmers.”
He stated that while beef prices have increased over the year, so have production costs.
The Prime Irish Composite price of €4.22/kg is running 30c/kg ahead of the Prime Export Benchmark price of €3.92/kg.
More updates on beef prices.