IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods has said that beef prices are holding firm, driven by extremely strong market demand and rising prices in our main export market in the UK.
He said UK prices have risen each week for the last 10 weeks in a row by over 16c/kg. He said these price increases, which are continuing strongly, outweigh any change in the sterling exchange rate.
In addition, he said beef demand across all other markets is also very strong and there is not a kilo of beef in store anywhere.
Angus Woods said steers are on a base of €4.20 and €4.30 on heifers. In some cases, more than €4.30 has been paid to get stock, with paid base prices of €4.32 and €4.33 for heifers.
Angus Woods said lighter carcase weights and a strong live export trade will help to negate the impact of higher numbers for the second half of the year.
* UK cattle prices are up 13p/kg or 16c/kg since April 1st. UK prices are running 40p/kg or 48c/kg ahead of this time last year.
* UK cattle prices (R3) steers are £3.68, which is equivalent to €4.40/kg incl VAT, at an exchange of 88p/€.
* Irish slaughterings are running 27,000 head above last year.
* Despite higher numbers, carcase weights are down this year. For the first four months of the year, steer weights are back 9.6kg.
* In addition, live exports are very strong this year, up 35,000 head at 116,000 head. Over 90,000 calves have been exported and exports to Turkey are also very strong with one exporter currently filling a contract for 20,000 head. It is expected there will be further contracts as the year progresses.
* Grass growth is very strong and cattle are thriving well.