Farmers have every right to be upbeat about the outlook for beef over the coming months, Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) livestock chair Michael O’Connell has said.

He said that factories are “scrambling” to secure finished cattle.

“We’d encourage farmers to shop around for best price options on in-spec Angus, Hereford, and Friesian cattle with prices up to €5.20c/kg base price for steers and €5.25 c/kg to €5.30c/kg or even slightly higher being reported for in-spec heifers.”

O’Connell encouraged farmers with finished cattle to “consider their local marts, as factory agents are looking to buy cattle for slaughter as well as forward stores for further feeding and being bolstered by strong competition from Northern buyers”.

The chair also said that the factories were wasting their time trying to talk the trade down.

PGI status

“Bord Bia are projecting up to 40,000 fewer finished cattle this year and we know that the relatively high numbers of calves and weanlings exported in 2022 and 2023 will feed through into this year. Those increased prices are badly needed; set against the longer housing period and costs incurred through a brutally wet and long winter," he said.

On being granted protected geographical indication (PGI) status beef, he said that “it is all for nothing unless the farmers producing the beef see some benefit”. He said that it “cannot be seen as a marketing exercise and has to have real results for the farmers through real improvement on prices”.