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Call for Stable Prices - Strong Exports

12 August 2013

IRELAND - Stable beef prices and strong live exports are vital for the store and weanling trade going into the autumn, according to the Irish Farmers Association.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said the critical issue is that beef prices stabilise so as feeders have the confidence to buy cattle and feed.

“Feeders will be slow if the see factories continuing to pull back prices. The excessive and unjustified price cuts of recent weeks seriously damages confidence in the sector. Feeders need certainty and stability from the factories on prices,” said Mr Burns.

He added that the store and weaning price has taken a big hit from last year, which is a major problem for the incomes of hard pressed suckler farmers.

He said the lift in prices in the last week was encouraging and badly needed.

“With a good burst in grass growth, demand will lift the trade.”

Mr Burns said the combination of significantly cheaper feed costs this year and a settling of the EU beef price should help lift the live trade for weanlings and stores for the second half of the year.

He said to date this year live exports are up 74 per cent at 142,842 head.

The big increases have come in calves exports, up over 50,000 head on last year with large increases to the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and France.

Weaning exports to Italy are back at 13,560 head but are expected to rise for the autumn. The store trade to Northern Ireland is also back as a result of the strength of sterling and changes following the horsemeat scandal. However to date this year 21,317 cattle have gone North and a further 5,719 cattle have gone across the water to Great Britain.

Mr Burns said the IFA is continuing to work hard on opening up the live trade to the UK with recent positive meetings with ferry companies, exporters and UK buyers. He said with the UK beef price at the equivalent of €4.90/kg, there is massive demand and huge potential for the live trade to the UK.

He added the reopening of the Libyan market was paying dividends with 7,424 cattle and almost 22,000 lambs shipped to date this year.

Exports to Tunisia have also being active with 2,322 cattle shipped to date this year.

The IFA is continuing to work to attract more exporters and get more ships cleared for export. He said the Department had cleared a number of ships and more applications are being actively considered.

The IFA Livestock leader said the current pull on cattle prices by the factories was a clear message to Minister Coveney that there was an urgent need for more competition, more ships and more live exports.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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