Beef farmers urged to ‘dig in’ for price increase

Beef farmers are being urged to “dig in” for a price increase amid tightening cattle supplies by the Irish Farmer’s Association (IFA).

Angus Woods, the association’s national livestock chairperson, said that factories were “getting it a lot harder to procure numbers of in-spec cattle at the base price of €3.60/kg for steers and heifers”.

“Some prices of €3.65 were paid last week/ early this week for both steers and heifers, with reports of higher deals for heifers,” he added.

Cattle numbers have tightened considerably and market conditions are favourable, leaving farmers in a much stronger bargaining position.

“The latest official Department of Agriculture AIMS [Animal Identification and Movement System] data for November 1 shows that beef cattle numbers in the critical 12 to 24 month age bracket has tightened significantly, with 55,000 head less than the previous year,” Woods highlighted.

The IFA livestock chairperson continued: “This means supplies for the next number of weeks and months are going to be a lot tighter than in 2019. Farmers who are feeding cattle need to dig in hard and insist on a solid price increase to lift the trade out of the current loss-making situation.”

He pointed out the discrepancy between the price received by farmers here and the price that UK farmers were getting.

According to Woods, the price in the UK for R3 steers for the week ending January 4 was £3.38/kg – which converts to about €4.16/kg including VAT, at an exchange rate of 85.5p for €1.

“At this price level in our main export market – the UK – there is major scope for Irish factories to increase prices,” Woods concluded.

IFA county AGM

In other IFA-related news, the president-elect of the association, Tim Cullinan, will attend the AGM of the IFA north Tipperary branch tonight, Tuesday, January 14.

The North Tipperary IFA AGM will be held at the Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh, beginning at 8:00pm.

Cullinan, a former county chairperson for north Tipperary, is the guest speaker on the night.