IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Henry Burns said grass cattle are drying up quickly and beef demand is increasing. He said farmers who are now mainly selling out of sheds are not under weather pressure to sell and will need significantly higher prices to move cattle.
Henry Burns said based on market returns there is major scope for cattle prices to increase significantly. He said the market facts as confirmed by An Bord Bia show that cattle prices in our main market in the UK are the equivalent of €4.60/kg+ and prices in our main EU export markets are €4.10 to €4.30/kg.
On supplies, the IFA livestock leader said weekly kills are very tight running 3,000 to 5,000 head per week below last years’ levels. “To date this year the kill is down 14% or 170,000 head. All of the projections indicate that supplies will remain very tight for the remainder of this year and into next year.”
Henry Burns said the Irish beef price is crying out for price competition and he again called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to take immediate action to get the live export trade to the Middle East and North Africa moving.
The IFA livestock leader said several EU countries such as France and Spain are actively exporting cattle to Libya, the Lebanon and other countries. He said since August this year, the factories have taken full advantage of the fact that Irish farmers are being denied price competition from the live export trade.
Henry Burns said Spanish colleagues told him this week that they are currently exporting thousands of Friesian cattle in the 400 to 500kg weight range at prices of €2.10/kg to €2.20/kg to Libya.