IRELAND - The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods has said the grass cattle are now gone and winter finishers need a substantial price increase to cover costs and move cattle out of sheds.
He said traditional winter finishers are not going to feed cattle at a loss and many are considering putting stock to grass next spring.
Beef prices are rising and base prices of €3.70/3.75/kg for steers have been paid this week with €3.80/3.85/kg paid for heifers.
But Angus Woods said these prices need to go a lot further in the lead into Christmas. He said the positive change to sterling, moving from 89p back to 85p/€, is worth 20c/kg in returns. Angus Woods said factories are in a position to lift beef prices and farmers selling cattle are demanding more.
The IFA livestock leader said: “With the forecast for an additional 100,000 head of cattle next year, a strong live export trade is vital for calves, weanlings, stores and finished cattle. Live exports are essential for competition and to support market balance and viable prices, as well as additional market outlets.”
He called on the Department of Agriculture to increase resources and dedicated personnel on market access and to prioritise the live trade. In addition, he said Minister Creed must work to remove the barriers on the live trade to Northern Ireland and Britain.
Angus Woods said a boat taking up to 4,000 weanlings was loaded last week for Turkey and another boat is being loaded this week with store cattle for Libya. He said IFA worked hard to open the Turkish market for live exports and it was positive to see ships sailing every odd week at this stage.
Angus Woods called on the Government to mount a strong response at national and EU level to the challenge from Brexit. He said the collapse in beef prices blamed on Brexit is a market disturbance, similar to the Russian ban, and justifies direct action by the EU Commission.
TheCattleSite News Desk