Strong retail demand sees agents ‘scrambling for stock’ amid rising prices

Cattle prices continue to strengthen driven by tighter supplies and strong retail demand, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Commenting on the increased demand, IFA National Livestock Committee chairman Brendan Golden said procurement managers and agents are “on the road scrambling for stock”, offering deals which include the full cost of transport, removal of weight restrictions and additional price top ups.

The base price continues to rise with some deals for steers at €3.55-3.60/kg and deals for heifers at €3.60-3.70/kg.

Golden said the supply balance has swung in favour of the farmer and feeders should dig in hard and negotiate a strong premium above the quoted base price as well as transport and other specifications.

The chairman said finishers are still taking a roasting on price and shipping serious losses compared to where they need to be to break even, or make a margin.

“IFA will continue to push Minister [for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael] Creed hard to secure a direct payment for finishers to cover the Covid-19 and Brexit-related losses on cattle sold this year,” he added.

On live exports, Golden said Minister Creed must intervene and resolve the issues between the department and the exporter on the Algerian trade.

“At a time when finishers are encountering major losses and struggling to find a viable outlet for bulls, we cannot allow a live export opportunity to be missed.”