IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said beef prices must move on to keep pace with the significant increases in the UK and EU cattle prices.
Brendan Golden said the latest Prime Export Benchmark price is €4.19/kg, which is 9c/kg above the prime Irish composite price of €4.10/kg.
“Beef prices in our key markets have strengthened consistently over the past number of weeks, up 10c/kg, against a background of static Irish prices,” he said.
He said demand for beef is strong and will increase over the coming weeks as supplies continue to tighten. UK supplies are predicted to be 5% below last year’s levels over this period.
Brendan Golden said the reduced numbers of suitable prime cattle for slaughter in Ireland that is available to factories over the coming months is very evident on the ground.
Based on throughput to date, Bord Bia predicts there will be some 40,000 fewer cattle to slaughter between now and year-end.
The IFA Livestock Chairman said farmers should dig in and sell hard as supplies of prime cattle are well short of market demand. The base prices offered, of €4.20/kg for steers and €4.25/kg for heifers, to most farmers are lagging behind what the market is returning and must push on.
“Attempts by some factories to lower cow prices are unjustified and should be resisted,” he said.
Brendan Golden said farmers are faced with a continual increase in production costs that cannot be avoided and these must be reflected in the beef price.
He said rising production costs must be factored in by the meat factories in supply contracts with supermarkets and returned to farmers at higher cattle prices.
The IFA Livestock Chairman said as a starting point the strength of our key markets must be returned immediately in the higher prices justified by the current market conditions.