Cattle prices from €4 to €4.50/kg and mid-season lamb prices of €5 to €6.00/kg are essential to cover the cost of production on the most efficient farms, says IFA president Joe Healy.
He has called for stronger action from the EU and Government to address the ongoing income challenges in the beef and sheep sectors. Speaking at the Farmers Journal open day on the Tullamore suckler and sheep farm, he said viable price returns are possible once there is a fair share out of the retail price across the chain.
“Beef markets are in a strong position and there is no basis for any pressure on cattle prices,” said Mr Healy. “In addition, live exports are performing very well, up 45%, with 140,000 head exported to date this year.”
He said a policy framework must be developed to return viable cattle and sheep prices and increased targeted direct payments to boost confidence in the sectors — worth €2.5bn in output value.
Mr Healy said demand for beef is strong and export market prices, notably in the main UK market, are very strong. Cattle numbers will be much tighter than originally forecast due to increased live exports and lower carcase weights.
IFA livestock chairman Angus Woods said Ireland can add on extra payments for welfare to the existing Beef Data and Genomics Programme for suckler cows.
He said this would help increase direct payment for suckler cows towards the IFA target of €200 per cow and could be financed from the national and EU underspend across some RDP schemes.
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