Beef farmers must see a return in strong prices from the “very positive market environment” created by low cattle supplies, reduced volumes of beef in the UK and the low levels of South American imports in the EU market, said IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden.
He said prices have started to move upwards as “factories struggle to secure supplies”.
Golden made his comments on Monday in advance of what he described will be an “extremely tight” supply of cattle for factories up to year-end.
Golden said: “Most farmers are now securing €4.20/kg for steers, with prices up to €4.30/kg offered for specialist lots.
“Most heifers are now moving at €4.25/kg, with up to €4.35/kg offered at the top end. Cull cows have steadied and are ranging from €3.50/kg to €4.00/kg depending on grade.”
However, he said such beef prices are still lagging 9c/kg behind the latest prime export benchmark price and “must push on”.
Golden said that prices in the UK have strengthened again and supplies are running 4% below 2020 levels, creating strong demand for Irish beef for the “lucrative Christmas trade”.
“Cattle supplies are predicted to be extremely tight up to year end. Combined with the reduced volumes of beef in the UK and the low levels of South American imports in the EU market, this creates a very positive market environment for Irish beef.
“[This] must be returned to farmers in strong price increases.”
Golden encouraged farmers to “dig in and sell hard” as factories seek to fill “lucrative Christmas orders”.