Beef prices receive early year lift, rises also for sheep

4th January, 2012

Livestock Price Coordinator for the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), John Cleary, has said that farmers have received a late Christmas present with beef prices receiving the second major surge in three months. Beef prices received a significant increase in November but another lift was not expected so soon into the New Year. Mr. Cleary also stated that despite the large rises, strong negotiators can achieve better than quoted prices.

For a good mix of steers, the base price being quoted is €4.00 – 4.10/kg, an increase of 10-20c from before Christmas. Factories are quoting €4.20 – €4.25/kg for heifers which is a significant rise from before the Christmas break. Heifers were the strongest performers in 2011 and this looks set to continue into the New Year. For a mix of U and R grade bulls, the base price is also €4.20/kg, a rise of 20c from last quotes.  Base price quotes for cows stand at €3.20 – €3.65/kg.

Commenting on this week’s trade, Mr. Cleary said: “The demand from factories across the board is quite incredible. Never have we seen such a jump in beef prices so soon into the new year and so soon after an equally large jump last November. We usually get one big jump every few quarters but nothing to this extent such a short time after the last one. However, it’s a new year and we welcome this increase as hopefully it will set the tone for the remainder of the year. The line has been drawn in the sand with last year’s prices. We need to maintain at least €4/kg for in spec heifers and bulls going forward to build a reliable platform for the rest of 2012. Better prices are also available for the best cattle should farmers be willing to negotiate as best they can.”

Sheep prices have remained solid over the Christmas break. Factories are quoting €5.20/kg for lambs up to 23.5/kg which is up 5c from pre Christmas prices.  Ewes are being quoted €3.20/kg.