Moves by the factories on cattle price are sending the wrong signals to winter finishers and damaging confidence at farm level; that’s according to IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods who commented on the beef sector yesterday.
Woods said that while there was the usual seasonal change in demand in the new year, cattle prices in our main export market in the UK have remained very strong, at the equivalent of €4.42/kg for R3 steers. Across the main EU markets, cattle prices are trading 20c to 30c/kg above 2017 levels.
Angus Woods said the base price for steers is varying from a low quote of €3.95/kg to €4.00/kg and heifers are varying from a low of €4.05/kg with €4.10 and €4.15/kg paid in places.
The IFA livestock leader said the official paid prices recorded by the Department of Agriculture are much higher, reflecting the higher prices above quotes that factories actually pay and also reflecting the in-spec bonus payments. He said for the week ending January 21st, the official R=3= average steer price paid across the country was €4.07/kg. For heifers the average R=3= price paid was €4.22/kg.
For young bulls, the average prices paid by the factories were U= €4.17, R= €4.02 and O= €3.89/kg. On cows U grades were paid an average of €3.76/kg, R grades €3.64/kg, O grades €3.43 and P+ grades €3.33/kg.
Strong Prices increase
Angus Woods said winter finisher need a strong price increase at this time of year, noting that farmers have been feeding cattle indoors since last autumn.
“The factories need to send a positive signal on price,” Woods said.
He said there was a full sell-out of beef over the Christmas period, with exceptionally strong demand and there is no beef in store. In addition, he said the manufacturing market and burger sales were particularly strong.