Favourable conditions and tight supplies means beef farmers should 'bargain hard’

A total of 110,000-120,000 fewer slaughter cattle are available compared to the same period in 2020
Favourable conditions and tight supplies means beef farmers should 'bargain hard’

Cattle out in the fields in Allihies, West Cork.  Picture: David Creedon. 

Market conditions for beef should be favourable for the remainder of the year as markets and buying patterns return to normal, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

The organisation also pointed to the strong performance of the live export trade to Northern Ireland for store and finished cattle, which is expected to continue into the back end of the year.

This will add strong competition for farmers and ensure numbers of finished cattle will be tight up to year-end.

IFA’s Livestock chairman, Brendan Golden said supplies of finished cattle would be tight for the rest of the year.

He also highlighted how numbers are back to date by over 67,000 head, with the annual kill predicted to be back a further 50,000 head by year-end.

A total of 110,000-120,000 fewer slaughter cattle are available compared to the same period in 2020.

“42,655 cattle have been exported to NI this year, increasing from 13,896 in 2020,” he continued.

“In the UK market, production is predicted to be back at least 4% for the year by combining reduced numbers and lighter carcase weights at slaughter.

“Import demand is expected to strengthen over the coming months as the foodservice sector returns to normal trading conditions. Irish beef has a strong foothold in this sector.” 

EU market 

Meanwhile, EU prices have strengthened over the past week, and overall production for the year is predicted to be down, providing further opportunity for Irish beef exports.

The Chinese demand for protein, redirecting South American beef exports from the EU market, ensures the market is functioning strongly for Irish beef when not undermined by these imports.

“The favourable market conditions in our main export markets are expected to continue for the year,” said Mr Goulden.

“This must be reflected in prices paid to farmers; while beef prices have increased over the year - the Prime Irish Composite price of €4.22/kg is running 30c/kg ahead of the Prime Export Benchmark price of €3.92/kg - production costs have also increased.

“Market conditions are favourable, supplies are tight, and farmers should continue to bargain hard.”

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