Dec 112013

In welcoming the stable outlook for beef in 2014 according to forecasts provided by the EU Management Committee for Animals Products, Mr Michael Guinan, the Chairperson of ICMSA’s Beef and Cattle Committee, said that he was confident that prices would remain strong for 2014 and as a sector that we must strive to consolidate and improve the prices being paid in future.

The changing EU beef supply balance will provide opportunities for the Irish beef and cattle sectors into the future and it is ICMSA’s view that new market opportunities will arise for both beef and live cattle of all ages. Production in the EU15 is expected to be 6.759 million tonnes in 2013 a drop of 2.4% from 2012.  Demand remained higher than supply at 7.107 million tonnes.  Production in the EU15 is expected to increase by 1.5% in 2014 with demand only rising 0.2% resulting in little movement on average prices across the continent. The EU will still be an importer of beef in order to fill the difference between demand and supply.

Slaughtering’s are 8% higher in Ireland 2013 from 2012, despite this increase, prices rose higher in 2013 which is very encouraging.  Also, following on from an overall increase in cattle numbers of 6% in 2012, this should lead to higher cattle slaughtering throughput in 2014. Calf births to date in 2013 are below 2012 levels with a substantial decrease (7%) in Suckler birth registrations; this may slow some of the throughput for 2015 and beyond. A further challenge in the next year is to bridge the price gap between Irish and UK prices which have diverged in the last twelve months and  must be addressed quickly as well as a fair price returned from processors in Ireland.

In conclusion, Mr Guinan said that, with Irish beef numbers expected to increase from 2015 and beyond due to the removal of quotas, there will need to be more market outlets available to our processors and the ongoing availability of the live export market.  The market outlook for beef is positive and the challenge is to ensure that the maximum possible price is returned to farmers.

Ends.         11 December 2013.

Michael Guinan, 086-8766851,

Chairman, ICMSA Beef & Cattle Committee


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758,

ICMSA Press Office