Ireland one of few selling cattle at a loss

Ireland is one of the few major beef-producing regions where cattle are being sold at a loss, says ICMSA livestock committee chairman, Michael Guinan.

He said world beef-market recovery is reflected in a huge price jump in the US, where farmers got 207 cent per kg in January, 2010, and now receive 433 cent per kilo, for an R3 steer.

He said the US price is now 82 cent a kilo ahead of the EU price, and the gap between Irish and UK beef prices stands at 87 cents a kg, equating to €300 per head for the average R3 steer.

“Cattle in Ireland are being sold at a loss and farmers will simply not be able to stay in the business, unless prices return to sustainable levels,” said Mr Guinan.

IFA said Bord Bia cattle price data showed the price of R3 grade steers at Irish meat factories was €3.72/kg, including VAT, for the week ending October 4.

The price of R3 grade steers in Great Britain, for the same week, was the equivalent of €4.75, or €350 per head for the average animal.

Bord Bia data showed R3 male cattle prices across the main EU Continental markets, including VAT at €4.52 in Northern Ireland (steers), €4.01 in Italy (bulls), €3.83 (bulls) and €4.04 (steers) in France, €3.86 in Spain (bulls), €3.80 (bulls) and €4.19 (steers) in Germany.

Figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland indicated price differentials, between north and south, at £201 (€252) for a 330kg R3 steer carcase, and £190 (€238) for a 330kg R3 heifer carcase.


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