Beef prices in the UK continue to edge upwards and are now at the equivalent price of €4.47/kg for R4L steers.
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has called on the meat factories to reflect those favourable market conditions by paying a higher price for cattle.
The organisation’s Livestock Committee Chairman, Brendan Golden, said demand for beef in the UK market is strong and will improve further as stocks build up for the lucrative Christmas trade.
“The higher than expected cattle kill to-date this year in the UK and the ‘lower cattle inventory’ all point towards increased demand in our primary export market for the coming months,” he said.
“Most of the grass cattle have now moved through the system; with the kill to-date up 47,000 on the same period last year, numbers are predicted to be tight for the back-end trade.
“It’s predicted there will be 50,000 fewer cattle to kill between now and Christmas compared to last year.
“Exports to Northern Ireland have performed very strongly this year with numbers up almost 25,000 head on 2019 to nearly 50,000.” Mr Golden went on to say that while numbers are down, the exports of finished cattle is up 16,000 head, which he added, “impacts directly on slaughter numbers for the remainder of the year”.
“The demand for beef in the UK market alongside tight domestic supplies and tighter numbers predicted here combine to create a positive environment for factories to maximise returns from the marketplace for Irish beef,” he continued.
“Meat factories have no excuse for allowing the current price gap to continue between Irish and UK prices.
“Farmers should dig in on price negotiations in the knowledge numbers will be tight, and the factories need the cattle to fill the lucrative Christmas orders with the supermarkets which have seen sales of meat surge throughout the COVID-19 restrictions.”