Stable beef prices are
crucial says IFA

Stable beef prices are essential for the future of the beef sector in Ireland.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said stable beef prices and strong live exports are vital as we head into the Autumn.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said stable beef prices and strong live exports are vital as we head into the Autumn.

He said the critical issue is that beef prices stabilise so as feeders have the confidence to buy cattle and feed.

“Feeders will be slow if the see factories continuing to pull back prices. The excessive and unjustified price cuts of recent weeks seriously damages confidence in the sector. Feeders need certainty and stability from the factories on prices,” he explained.

The store and weaning price has taken a big hit from last year which is a major problem for the incomes of hard pressed suckler farmers.

Mr Burns said the lift in prices in the last week was encouraging and badly needed but prices needed to stablise and live export markets needed to remain strong to secure future income in the sector.

Noting the combination of significantly cheaper feed costs this year and a settling of the EU beef price, the IFA Chairperson said this should help lift the live trade for weanlings and stores for the second half of the year.

To date this year live exports are up 74% at 142,842 head. The big increases have come in calves exports, up over 50,000 head on last year with large increases to the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and France.

Weaning exports to Italy are back at 13,560 head but are expected to rise for the Autumn. The store trade to Northern Ireland is also back as a result of the strength of sterling and changes following the horsemeat scandal. However to date this year 21,317 cattle have gone North and a further 5,719 cattle have gone across the water to Great Britain.

IFA is continuing to work hard on opening up the live trade to the UK with recent positive meetings with ferry companies, exporters and UK buyers. With the UK beef price at the equivalent of €4.90/kg, there is massive demand and huge potential for the live trade to the UK.

IFA work in reopening the Libyan market was paying dividends with 7,424 cattle and almost 22,000 lambs shipped to date this year. Exports to Tunisia have also being active with 2,322 cattle shipped to date.

The IFA Livestock leader said the current pull on cattle prices by the factories was a clear message to Minister Coveney that there was an urgent need for more competition, more ships and live exports.