A farm organisation has warned farmers to watch out for often misleading information regarding factory demand for cattle supplies.
ICSA beef chair Edmond Graham said: “Stories about factories being booked out until the end of February are mostly just that, stories.”
“It’s a form of mind game so farmers will take what they’re given. The advice is not to give into that; supplies are tight so sell hard.”
Getting prices above €4/kg
Graham called on all beef farmers to insist on a minimum base price of €3.70/kg for steers and €3.75/kg for heifers immediately. “We have to begin the push to get beef price back above €4/kg.”
“If we can’t do this in 2020, we will never do it, given tightening supplies, improving markets in the UK and Europe and the demand for animal protein in China arising from swine fever.” he explained.
“While the meat industry is making a lot out of the temporary downward blip in the Chinese market, this does not justify prices being almost as low as last autumn when multiple factors including weather and the unjust 30 month cut off were all against farmers.”
He said that farmers need to be aware that prices will inevitably rise, and “it is no good giving away beef now only to regret it later”.
“No farmer should accept the first offer from a factory at the moment.”
He stressed that the price differential with the UK is now running at around 50c/kg for steer beef and this cannot be justified.”
“We have a long way to go if we are to see any sort of parity with UK prices. Average quotes this week of €3.65 for steers and €3.70 for heifers just don’t cut the mustard,” he concluded.