IFA: Cattle finishers demand more for their beef

Cattle prices are continuing to rise, but much too slowly for finishers who need a “substantial price lift” at this stage, according to Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA) new national livestock chairperson, Brendan Golden.

Golden said that supplies are much tighter and farmers need to “dig in very hard”, demanding more on price.

“Farmers should reject the quoted prices and ask for at least €0.10/kg more. Factory procurement managers are cold calling feeders trying to pin down supplies and cut deals.

“It’s well known that many of the big processors don’t have as many cattle in feedlots as usual. They are trying to secure stock for the weeks ahead,” Golden continued.

With 55,000 fewer cattle in the system, based on Animal Identification and Movement  System (AIMS) data, supplies should get much tighter over the coming weeks.

Golden said the base price for steers and heifers is continuing to creep upwards with steers making €3.60/kg to 3.65/kg, with some top prices of €3.70 being paid.

Heifers are on €3.65/kg, with €3.70/kg becoming more common.

The IFA livestock chairperson said some flat price deals of €3.70/kg have been negotiated for Friesian steers.

Young bulls have also risen in price a little bit, with O grades making €3.40/kg; R grades €3.50/kg; and up to €3.65/kg for U grades.

Cow price is ranging from €2.90/kg to €3.45/kg for top grade cows.

UK continuing to rise

Golden added that prices in Ireland’s main export market in the UK are continuing to rise, with R3 grade steers up another £0.01/kg for the week ending January 25, to £3.40/kg, which is equivalent to €4.24/kg (including VAT).

Golden said the UK price is €0.42/kg ahead of the Irish price.

The average R3 price paid by Irish factories for the week ending January 25 varied from €3.99/kg, in Foyle Meats in Donegal, to less than €3.75/kg in a number of plants, said the IFA livestock chairperson.

He said there is a variation of up to €0.29/kg between the top and the bottom, “clearly showing that farmers should shop around”, and that deals are being done “way above the quoted base prices”.