Speaking at the IFA AGM in Dublin this week, IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said cattle prices need to rise in order that winter finishers can avoid further losses and secure a margin on some cattle sold out of the sheds this spring.
He said some finishers are securing a base of €4.05/kg on steers and €4.15/kg base on heifers.
Angus Woods said the official prices from the Department of Agriculture are showing the price increases with the R3 steer price across the country at €4.05/kg. In addition, the heifer price is up 4c/kg in a week at an average of €4.21/kg.
He said supplies will continue to tighten over the coming weeks and months until grass cattle start to flow in July. “Farmers are negotiating positively with factories at the moment both on price and specifications. Carcase weight restrictions and cuts are avoidable.”
On live exports, Angus Woods said an official announcement from the Department on the opening of the live market to Turkey is needed. He said it is positive exporters are already buying for Turkey with weanlings under 12 months of age and under 300kgs in strong demand. “With increased supply numbers forecasted for later in 2016, we need to get exports moving to Egypt.”
In addition, he said the Minister and the EU Commission must resolve the labelling issues on live exports to Northern Ireland and Britain.
Angus Woods called for a re-opening of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme immediately saying that the €52m in funding secured by IFA needs to be utilised and paid out to farmers. He said IFA is very strong that direct payments for suckler cows must be increased and IFA is targeting a payment of €200 per cow.