The supply-demand balance for cattle is “very much in the farmers’ favour”, with beef prices being maintained – and in some cases strengthened, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has claimed.

Commenting on the latest beef market development, IFA Livestock Committee chairman Brendan Golden said tight supplies and strong farmer resistance have maintained beef prices this week – with some factories forced into increasing quotes to secure numbers.

He said factories are paying €4.20/kg base price to get steers this week, with up to €4.25/kg available for heifers despite some lower quotes.

Outlining his view that the supply-demand balance is “very much in farmers’ favour”, the chairman said: “With grass supplies good, cattle should only be moved as they become fit.”

Continuing, he said prices in our key export markets – the UK and the EU – are strengthening.

UK supplies are predicted to be back by 5% for the remainder of the year, which creates a positive market environment.

Golden said:

“Supplies of finished cattle are estimated to be back 40,000 head for the remainder of the year compared to 2020. Factories know this and in a positive export market where reduced volumes of South American beef are available, this places Irish beef in a strong position.”

The IFA chairman said farmers should “ignore the unjustified negative commentary from some factories and their agents”, and sell hard when cattle are fit to move to maintain control of the supply-demand balance.

This follows the IFA Livestock Committee’s reaction to proposals put forward for suckler and beef farmers in the Department of Agriculture’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) consultation document.

Speaking on Friday (August 20) following a meeting of the committee, Golden said members are “very disappointed at the lack of ambition to provide meaningful support to the sector”.

He also took aim at the “underhanded attempts to limit the national suckler herd through the proposed suckler cow scheme”.