Irish heifer prices well behind UK returns

The latest report from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) indicates that Irish heifer prices have witnessed the largest increase – from November 12 to December 10 – when compared to other EU countries.

However, during this period, R3 heifer prices in the Republic of Ireland were 12.5c/kg behind what R3 heifers were making in Northern Ireland and 30.6c/kg lower than the equivalent price in Great Britain.

In Ireland, the prices achieved by R3 heifers stood at 394.4c/kg for the week ending December 10. This is an increase of 13.5c/kg from the 380.9c/kg paid to Irish farmers for the week ending November 12.

Furthermore, this brings Ireland up to seventh place in the overall EU standings; compared to eighth place in mid-November.

In addition, both Great Britain and Northern Ireland were non-movers and are placed third and sixth respectively.

For the week ending December 10, the average price paid in Europe for R3 heifers equalled 391.6c/kg – an improvement of 3.8c/kg on the previous months figures. This indicates that the Irish price was operating at 2.8c/kg above the EU average.

Source: LMC

In Northern Ireland, the R3 heifer price was the equivalent of 408.6c/kg – a rise of 7.2c/kg up from 399.7c/kg in November.

The gap between the R3 heifer price in Northern Ireland and the EU average widened from 11.9c/kg for the week ending November 12 to 15.3c/kg for the week ending December 10.

For the week ending December 10, in Britain, R3 heifer prices equalled the equivalent of 425c/kg. This was an increase of 7.1c/kg from the 417.9c/kg price for the week ending November 12.

In addition, during this period, the differential between R3 heifer prices in Britain and the EU average broadened from 30.1c/kg to 33.4c/kg.

To put this into perspective, farmers from Northern Ireland and Great Britain were earning €37.50 and €91.80 respectively more than farmers in the Republic of Ireland for a 300kg heifer carcass.

On the other hand, France has dropped one place in the standings to eighth. R3 heifers made 387c/kg during the period from November 12 to December 10 – a drop of 5c/kg on the previous month’s figures.


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