Market conditions ‘justify higher beef returns’ – IFA

Meat processors are being called on to reflect the “favourable market conditions” in the UK when paying for cattle.

Brendan Golden, the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) national livestock chairperson, noted that prices in the UK “continue to edge upwards, and are now at the equivalent [including VAT] of €4.47/kg for R4L steers”.

According to Golden, demand for beef in the UK market is “strong and will improve further as stocks are built up for the lucrative Christmas trade”.

The higher-than-expected cattle kill to-date this year in the UK and the ‘lower cattle inventory’ all point towards increased demand in our primary export market for the coming months.

On this side of the Irish sea, Golden noted that most of the grass cattle have moved through the system and, with the kill to-date up 47,000 on the same period last year, numbers would be expected to be tight for the back-end trade.

The IFA national livestock chair is predicting 50,000 fewer cattle to kill between now and December compared to last year.

The numbers of exported cattle will also have an effect, Golden argued, saying: “Looking at the breakdown of overall exports, while numbers are down, the export of finished cattle is up 16,000 head, which impacts directly on slaughter numbers for the remainder of the year.

The demand for beef in the UK market; tight domestic supplies; and tighter numbers predicted here, create a positive environment for factories to maximise returns from the marketplace for Irish beef.

“Meat factories have no excuse for allowing the current price gap to continue between Irish and UK prices. Farmers should dig in on price negotiations in the knowledge numbers will be tight and the factories need the cattle to fill the lucrative Christmas orders with the supermarkets,” he urged.