R3 steer price down 21c/kg in the first seven months of 2016

The price farmers have been paid for R3 steers has dropped considerably during the first seven months of 2016 compared to the same time last year.

According to Department of Agriculture, the average price paid for an Irish R3 steer between January and July was 386c/kg, back 21c/kg on the same time in 2015.

Looking at the returns on a month-to-month basis, R3 steers prices were lower in each of the seven months of 2016 compared to last year.

The biggest price difference occurred in July, with official figures showing a 39c/kg difference between R3 steers slaughtered in 2016 (380c/kg) and 2015 (407c/kg).

R3 steer price table
Source: Department of Agriculture

Official figures also show that the Irish R3 steer price remained relatively stable during the first three months of the year, sitting at about 380c/kg.

And, prices jumped by 18c/kg between April and June mainly due a tightening in the number of cattle being brought forward for slaughter.

But, this price increase was wiped off during the month of July as steer prices fell by 18c/kg to an average price of 380c/kg.

This fall in cattle prices coincided with the Brexit vote on June 23, which sent shock waves through the beef industry.
Steer price graph 2016

Following the Brexit vote, Meat Industry Ireland (the body for beef and sheep factories) warned that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union would lead to a high level of uncertainty for Irish meat exports.

MII cited the Sterling/euro relationship as being of major importance for the value of Irish beef exports and in-turn Irish cattle prices.

And, since the Brexit decision was announced Sterling has weakened to its lowest level against the euro in three years, making Irish beef dearer for UK-based beef buyers.

Heifer prices down 17c/kg

Figures from the Department of Agriculture also show that the average price for Irish R3 heifers were lower between January and July of this year compared to 2015.

It shows that Irish R3 heifers averaged 401c/kg during the first seven months of the year, back 17c/kg on the 418c/kg average price paid between January and July 2015.

heifer price table

The Irish R3 heifer price also showed some signs of improving between April and June, with prices jumping by 11c/kg over a three month window.

But, like the steers, the average R3 heifer price also declined during the month of July, falling by 18c/kg or €50 on a 280kg heifer carcass.

2016 R3 heifer price line graph