Longford Leader Farming: Anger as surge in UK beef prices isn't echoed in Ireland

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ICMSA

ICMSA livestock committee chairperson, Des Morrison

The price of steers and heifers in the UK are moving upwards and despite the negative sentiments coming from meat plants, Irish beef prices should be doing exactly the same, according to the chairperson of Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers' Association's (ICMSA) livestock committee.

Des Morrison noted that for the week ending 22 August, the price of steers and heifers in the UK increased by 2p/kg up a very significant 47p/kg on the same week in 2019 and 22.6p/kg above the five-year average.

“The contrast between prices in Ireland and the UK is striking and frankly inexplicable - a R4 steer is making more than 430c/kg and the average steer is making 418c/kg in the UK. Irish farmers have every right to be angry about this growing disparity,” said Mr Morrison.

The UK remains our major market for beef and prices are moving upwards there, while prices across the EU have been broadly stable.

Mr Morrison said that he expected Irish cattle numbers to be down on 2019 levels and he said that he strongly suspected that “yet again” there was an element of factories taking advantage of issues such as 30 month rule and weather, adding there is absolutely no discernible market reason for the present downbeat outlook.

“We think that Irish beef prices should be following the UK market upwards and – at the very least – prices should most certainly not be cut. If they are being cut the only explanation is factory profiteering,” he said in conclusion.