Beef price increases ‘just about keeping pace’ with UK boosts

Christmas demand continues to push beef prices, with increases “just about keeping pace” with price lifts in the UK, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Commenting, IFA Livestock Committee chairman Brendan Golden said beef prices have risen 5-10c/kg this week, driven by very tight supplies of in-spec cattle and strong UK market conditions.

Golden said €3.65/kg is freely available for bullocks with deals to €3.70/kg and above paid to secure numbers over the weekend.

Heifers are starting off at a base of €3.70/kg, with €3.75/kg and above paid as factories fill orders for the lucrative Christmas trade.

The chairman added: “These increases are just about keeping pace with the price increases in the UK and must push on to reflect the full benefits of the current market conditions for beef farmers.”

The equivalent price for R4L steers in Britain is €4.54/kg. Golden said agents and factories are very active on the ground to secure cattle.

He said numbers are expected to continue to tighten over the coming weeks.

The cow trade also strengthened this week. Prices increased by a similar 5-10c/kg in some factories.

“P-grade cows are making from €2.70/€2.90/kg, O grades €2.80 to €3/kg, with good quality R/U grading cows pushing to €3.30/kg and above in some cases,” Golden said.