The lower prices given by meat factories this week are not reflective of the strong market sentiment that continues in the UK and EU beef markets, the IFA’s (Irish Farmers’ Association’s) National Livestock Committee Chairman, Angus Woods, said recently.

Woods noted that supplies of prime beef cattle in Britain are very tight, down almost 10% on last week. Because of this, prices have continued to strengthen – increasing by over 6c/kg during the week.

The livestock committee chairman said: “The lighter carcase weights this year, the strong live export trade to international markets and the increased kill to-date – along with the drop in slaughterings in Britain – all contribute to less beef being available and provide very favourable market conditions for our beef.”

Woods added there is no backlog of beef in store and supplies of in-spec cattle on the ground are not meeting demand from factories to make up the supply deficit in Britain.

This is obvious from the amount of factory agent activity attempting to secure cattle for immediate slaughter, he said. Good grass growth and cattle thriving well is enabling farmers to strongly resist the current price pressure.

Woods said there is evidently no market basis for pressure on cattle prices at present and this move by the Irish factories to pull quotes and talk down the trade is an attempt to force out very tight supplies of prime cattle by undermining confidence.

This week steers are being bought at a base price of €4.05/kg, but this ranges from €4.00 to €4.10/kg, he said. Heifers are generally making a base price of €4.15/kg, but this ranges from €4.10 to €4.20/kg.

Concluding, the chairman said factories are reluctant to leave cattle behind and farmers should strongly resist the “unjustified”, lower quotes being given.