The national beef kill decreased by over 10,000 head last week, according to latest figures from the Department of Agriculture.

Last week’s beef kill of 25,992 was down over 30% on the previous week. With Monday being a bank holiday and a high profile IFA beef protest having taken place on Tuesday, factories only had three full days in which to operate.

When the last week’s figures are compared to the same week in 2013 which also included a bank holiday the last kill was also 13% lower.

Latest reports from the IFA suggest that cattle prices are rising strongly with supplies tightening.

It says factories are quoting a steer base price €3.70/3.80 with heifers €3.75/3.85 and Bulls R/U €3.80/3.90. Cows prices are being €3.00/3.60.

With UK beef prices increasing by 30c/kg (€100 per head) in the last number of weeks, Eddie Downey said there is no excuse for the factories to withhold a price increase to farmers.

He said there is no credible explanation why the strong price increase in the UK, which takes over half of our exports, is not reflected in higher prices to Irish farmers and added that Irish beef sales to the UK are up 20% this year