Bord Bia’s beef sector manager Mark Zieg has expressed optimism that 2022 will see continued strength in the Irish cattle trade and a strong demand for beef.

In statement to Agriland, he outlined that the firmness in the beef trade has continued with an average R3 steer price in the week ending December 11, 2021, of €4.24/kg.

The Bord Bia beef sector manager outlined that this compares to an R3 steer price of €3.72/kg in the corresponding week last year.

In the 12-month period of 2021, the average R3 steer price in the Republic of Ireland has increased by 52c/kg – a lift which was much welcomed and needed by beef farmers in Ireland after enduring a number of tough years on beef price.

Cattle trade: Irish vs. EU beef price

Commenting on how beef price is performing on mainland Europe, Bord Bia’s Mark Zieg outlined that “a strong uplift” has been seen in European beef prices over the past few months.

The Bord Bia beef sector manager said: “On average, for the year to date, Irish R3 steer prices are running 16c/kg ahead of average EU male cattle prices.”

He also outlined that the Irish R3 heifer price has been almost 30c/kg ahead of the EU average.

Reviewing the beef kill in 2021, Zieg noted that cattle supplies for slaughter have been “significantly tighter” during 2021.

Throughput for the year to date (December 11) totalled 1,609,496 head of cattle – back 78,412 head from the corresponding period in 2020.

Prime cattle throughput declined by 6% during 2021 when compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, cow throughput has been operating around 8,727 head – or 3% – lower this year than in the corresponding period in 2020.

Concluding, Zieg reiterated his optimism for 2022 saying: “The outlook for Irish beef exports to the EU and the UK remains positive for 2022, with the markets set to be relatively balanced in terms of supply and demand.”