Factories forced to raise beef prices further as market trade ‘sizzles’

Beef processors are set to “go to war” over livestock security as strong demand forces factories to raise prices again this week.

Quotations rose to €4.50/kg for steers over the weekend, with heifers at €4.55-4.60/kg. However, fixed prices of €5.00/kg for Angus cattle are said to be on offer, with factories desperate to secure suitable stock.

Demand for beef in our main export markets is extremely strong: Bord Bia’s benchmark export price has surged in recent weeks and is now 4 c/kg above our price, indicating the strong demand for beef in the UK and EU markets.

In view of the high prices, IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden again advised farmers to “sell hard” this week.

“Supplies are tight in our key markets, demand for beef is strong and plant agents are very active on the ground trying to source cattle,” he said.

“Farmers are unable to absorb cost increases. Factories must return the full value of the strengthened beef market to farmers by raising prices. »

Golden said that demand is fueling in-store sales, with prices for fed and term cattle and cows being very competitive with prices offered by some mills.

Describing his trade at Kilkenny Mart as “sizzling”, manager George Candler said he was “fast running out of superlatives to describe what is happening”, while Michael Harty of Roscrea Mart said prices continued to rise ” more and more “.

Neilius McAuliffe at Castleisland and Thomas Potterton at Delvin also reported buoyant trading last week. Notably, the two said the demand from feedlots is now such that some have reduced their traditional cut-off weight from 500-550kg to 450kg.

It comes as Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue last week announced progress in expanding Saudi market access for Irish beef.

An agreement in principle has been reached to lift the restriction that Irish exports to Saudi Arabia must come from slaughtered cattle less than 30 months old.

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