Beef prices must push on to reflect the demand for beef in the UK and EU markets, IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden has said.

Golden said demand from supermarkets is strong and cattle numbers are tight, adding that “there is no hiding place for factories”.

The export benchmark price, which the IFA has highlighted as the reality of the market place, show prices in Ireland’s key markets reflecting the demand for beef by increasing each week.

Securing supply

The livestock chair said factories and their agents are having to work hard to secure supplies and farmers should not accept lower quotes offered.

Steers are making €3.80/kg and heifers €3.85/kg, with higher deals for larger and specialist lots, the IFA said, with young bulls are making up to €3.90/kg. Cows are in strong demand and very few are selling below €3.00/kg. Better-quality cows are moving at €3.50/kg and over, in some cases.

“Cattle finishers are experiencing continual increases in production costs and the undermining of the market by factories is not acceptable.

“The gradual re-opening of the food service sector will drive demand in addition to the seasonal increase for beef for the Easter holiday which is approaching,” he said.

He said farmers understand the issues with Brexit and COVID-19. However, this is no excuse for factories failing to reflect the current market conditions in beef prices, he said.

Golden said the breakeven price for finishers according to Teagasc is €4.50/kg, current prices are a long way off this and market conditions justify a closing of this gap.