Figures from the latest Bord Bia Beef Price Tracker has shown that Irish Beef Price has now fallen to 54c/kg behind the EU average beef price.

The Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Livestock chairperson, Brendan Golden, has said this is the furthest Irish price has ever been behind the EU average beef price and added that the matter “raises serious questions”.

As of October 29, the average Irish R3 steer price stood at €4.52/kg. On the same date, the average EU Young bull price was at €5.06/kg or 54c/kg ahead of Irish price while UK steer price was at €5.12/kg or 60c/kg ahead of Irish price.

Cattle price across Europe as of October 29:

  • Ireland R3 steer price: €4.52/kg;
  • France R3 young bull price: €5.21/kg;
  • Poland R3 young bull price: €4.85;
  • Italy R3 young bull price: €4.83.

Golden said: “The price cuts seen over the past few weeks are at odds with strengthening prices in our key markets as we face into the key Christmas trade.

“The Prime Export Benchmark Price increased throughout the month of October by 7c/kg, to €4.96/kg. Over the same period, factories here have slashed beef prices by 15c/kg, bringing the Prime Irish Composite Price back to €4.47/kg, or a differential of 49c/kg. This equates to almost €200 for a 400kg carcass.”

Brendan Golden said the “opportunism of factories must stop” and beef prices “must reflect the reality of the market place”.

He said the current price differential is the largest recorded between our prices and the price paid for beef in our key markets.

Continuing, Brendan Golden said: “The beef price tracker was put in place to improve transparency around prices in our key markets. If the current gap has not raised concerns with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, and Bord Bia, then the tracker is of no benefit to farmers.”

He said the Minister for Agriculture has a key role to play and he must intervene “as a matter of urgency”.

“The level of market dysfunction has reached a critical stage and Minister McConalogue must call out the failure of factories to return viable beef prices to farmers, and support the sector with direct payments to farmers finishing cattle over the winter months,” he said.

The IFA has sought what it describes as “an urgent meeting” with Meat Industry Ireland (MII) on the issue.