The chair of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association’s (ICMSA’s) livestock committee, Des Morrison has raised the question of why Irish producers are still getting 5% below the European average, despite a surge in beef prices.

As of the week ending on March 12, 2021, the European composite price went from €3.53/kg to €4.62/kg exclusive of VAT, representing a 22.9% increase compared to a 17.8% change from €3.57/kg to €4.45/kg in Ireland, both recorded over a twelve-month period, Morrison said.

The comparison leaves Irish farmers currently receiving over 5% less than the European benchmark, according to Morrison.

He added that questions need to be asked and answered around what he described as an “inexplicable deficit” between the rise in European beef prices and those recorded in Ireland.

However, the ICMSA livestock committee chair said, this deficit is not just confined to European averages or composites:

“If we look over the border and at the week ending on March 12, 2022, Irish beef farmers received €4.91/kg inclusive of VAT for their R3 steers, while in Northern Ireland the price of R3 steers was €5.18/kg.”

The ICMSA livestock committee chair said that the data showed clearly that primary producers outside of Ireland are receiving more money for their product.

Considering high input costs, Irish farmers are not making a profit producing beef, according to the ICMSA livestock committee chair.

He also raised the question of how beef farmers can be expected to finish cattle this autumn as there is no certainty for producers, and the ICMSA predicts this will result in supply-shortage issues at certain points in the supply chain.