THE IFA national livestock chairman Angus Woods has said the cattle trade is at a critical juncture and it is essential that factories do not undermine prices or confidence further at this time.
Angus Woods said that following a number of weeks of falling prices in the UK, stability had returned to our largest and most valuable market, with UK cattle prices rising by 4p/kg in the week ending Aug 18th.
He said despite the pressure from sterling, Irish factories were in a position to stabilise prices and he called on the factories to show some commitment to their suppliers. UK steers are making £3.67/kg, – the equivalent of €4.27/kg incl VAT, at an exchange rate of 90.5p/€.
Mr Woods said the factories need to communicate positively with their agents and must insist that there is no undermining of prices at this time.
‘Factories are paying a base of €3.90/kg on steers and €4.00/kg on heifers but some plants are quoting less and talking down the trade, which is irresponsible at this time,’ he said.
He added that livestock farmers are after having an extremely difficult summer with soaring costs and massive bills due to extra meal feeding as a result of the drought. ‘Retailers and factories must take this on board and with continuing strong demand, pay viable beef prices into the autumn,’ he said.
The IFA Livestock leader said the kill to date this year was up 34,000 head and with Bord Bia forecasting an increase in numbers of 30/50,000 head for the year, a lot of the additional stock may already have moved.
In addition, he said, the drought and the extra meal feeding brought forward cattle and numbers may be tighter than anticipated in the weeks ahead.