‘Up to 80,000 more finished cattle to be available in 2016’

Between 50,000 and 80,000 more finished cattle are to become available in 2016, according to Joe Burke of Bord Bia.

2015 saw a decline in beef numbers however, this decline was offset by an increase in carcass weights, he said.

According to Burke, the increase in weights last year was helped by improved grazing conditions.

Supplies were stronger than expected in 2015 and the growing conditions attributed to younger finishing, he said.

Looking at the year ahead, Burke said that we are likely to see a rise of 3-5% in additional finished cattle supplies.

It is also likely that there will be a increase in numbers in all different categories of cattle.

For the week ending December 18, 2015, calf registrations were up 5.7%, with Burke saying that there was more dairy calves registered than the year previous.

Looking at EU beef production, in 2015 Burke said that production was up 3% in volume terms on 2014.

“The EU cow herd increased by 1.5%; the dairy herd increased by 3.7% and the suckler herd declined by 2.2%.”

Prices

“Cattle prices recovered 8% on 2014 in the first half of 2015 and were highest in July and August with a high of 4.30c/kg including VAT.

“But in the latter months these prices tended to decline to 3.79c/kg. In 2015, the Irish R3 steer price was 7.2% above the continental EU average.

“There were also price rises in Italy, Spain, France and Germany. Continental beef prices fell slightly compared with 2014.”

Burke said that in euro terms, on average the UK cattle price was 17% ahead of the Irish equivalent.

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