Anger grows over Irish beef prices

There is no basis for a reduction in beef prices at this time, according to Michael Guinan, chairperson of ICMSA’s beef and cattle committee.

He said that at a time when there is not enough supply on European markets for indigenous beef, it is shocking that prices have fallen so far in the past three months

“While it is clear that for the rest of this year, meat plants kills will be up on last year, it is still at a low level compared to the last decade and most of our main EU markets have not seen any reduction in prices, with prices in our main market the UK higher than the levels prevailing here. Beef prices in Irish meat plants for R3 steers have fallen over 10 per cent since early July compared to Germany and Great Britain, which have increased in price and France which has seen a close to five per cent decrease. This price reduction simply cannot be justified and meat plants should immediately reverse their decision.”

The ICMSA said looking at a comparison of prices in the past year, it is clear to see that any gains the beef sector has made in the last year have been eroded.

 

Steers/R3 (Cent)

Time

Ireland

EU

Germany

France

Gt. Britain

18/08/2012

381.9

406.4

383.5

399

441.47

22/09/2012

372.9

400.1

374.3

399

436.75

20/10/2012

367.5

398

394.7

397

435.98

17/11/2012

376.1

405.2

396.8

392

446.45

15/12/2012

384.4

412

406

401

451.06

19/01/2013

399.8

416.3

413.1

405

442.99

16/02/2013

401.1

413.5

414.1

416

430

16/03/2013

412.1

425.2

444.7

422

443.12

20/04/2013

423

435

411.1

422

459.75

18/05/2013

432.6

444.3

416.2

428

471.45

15/06/2013

443.3

448.7

404.9

430

470.05

06/07/2013

431

442.4

387.6

434

467.91

03/08/2013

404.4

426.3

394.7

437

453.31

31/08/2013

403.5

423.9

410.6

429

453.12

14/09/2013

395.6

424.9

376.5

420

467.94

21/09/2013

386.6

423.3

394.6

413

475.65

% change year on year

1%

4%

3%

4%

8%

The ICMSA table shows how weekly prices have changed in the past year. Ireland remains constantly below the EU average and a huge distance behind the UK prices, the association outlines.

“This equates to an average of 20 cents per kilo behind the EU average over the time period and 50 cents behind the UK. On average, Irish meat prices were 4 and 14 cents below Germany and France respectively. The overall figure shows meat prices in Ireland have only increased one per cent from August 2012 to September 2013 compared to increases of three to eight per cent of our European neighbours.”

ICMSA Guinan said it was key to remember that factory throughput was just under 1.4 million head last year – which was the lowest cattle kill for more than 15 years – and even with an increase of 10 per cent forecasted for 2013 it will still be the third lowest kill in that 15-year period.

“Supply remains tight relative to other years and how processors can even attempt to justify these drops in price is beyond belief and is causing great resentment amongst farmers.”

Pictured: Limousin suckler herd. Photo O’Gorman Photography

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