Updated projection figures for cattle point to tighter supplies – down 120,000 head – for this year compared to last year, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).
IFA Livestock Committee chairman Brendan Golden said the updated cattle supply projection provided by Bord Bia points to tighter supplies of finished cattle for the year.
Commenting on Friday (April 23) Golden said the revised figures predict cattle numbers will be some 120,000 fewer this year compared to 2020.
The projection is based on a number of factors, including the very strong export performance of forward store and finished cattle to NI so far this year. This trend is expected to continue, where exports to date are up 117% on last year to 24,513, the chairman noted.
“Coupled with the estimated 5% reduction in the UK kill for the year, this points to strong and favourable market conditions for Irish beef which must be maximised by factories here and returned in beef prices to farmers,” he said.
The full re-opening of the food service sector in mid-May in the UK will increase demand for Irish beef in particular, as the favoured supplier to this key market, he argued.
The chairman said beef prices continue to rise as factories struggle to meet demand.
Steers are making €4.05 to €4.10/kg and heifers €4.10 to €4.20/kg base prices, with higher deals available, Golden noted.
“Young bulls of R/U grades are making €4.00 to €4.30/kg.
“Cull cow demand is very strong, with prices for P grades starting at €3.25/kg and moving upwards depending on numbers. O grades are starting at €3.30/kg, with good quality continental cows making €3.50/kg to €3.70/kg,” he said.
“The gap with the Prime Export Tracker Price has closed in the last week, but increasing UK prices and the additional demand from the food service sector there for beef is driving the trade.
“Farmers should sell hard in favourable market conditions,” Golden concluded.