Spring 2023 could be a "wake-up call" for beef processors, as more farmers opt to finish their stock on grass ICMSA Livestock Committee chairman Des Morrison has said.
"They are going to have to get their prices up to a level that gives farmers a margin after their inputs, and it’s going to take a lot for farmers to believe the factories will do that because we have been burned by them so many times before”, said Mr Morrison.
He explained that many finishers are wary of soaring input costs to finish animals in early spring and will be looking to finish them later on grass.
“Nobody is going to spend a fortune finishing cattle on nuts and then bring them in to get a derisory price from the factories. We think that farmers are going to hold off until possibly April and finish them on grass," he said.
The average reported Irish R3 steer price as of a fortnight ago was €4.52/kg excluding VAT, which was down 27c/kg from mid-September 6.
The EU price for young bulls increased 7c/kg from €4.99/kg to €5.06/kg, excluding VAT, whilst the UK steer price increased 5c/kg from €5.07/kg to €5.12/kg ex VAT.
"Ireland is yet again the exception where our prices have fallen. Every market we sell into or bear any comparison to has rising prices, but our factories have cut the price they pay us," Mr Morrison added.