Des Morrison Enniscrone farmer and Chairperson of ICMSA Livestock Committee

ICMSA predict factory’s Spring throughput to drop significantly as farmers opt to finish on grass

The Chairperson of ICMSA’s Livestock Committee, Des Morrison, said that he expects farmer beef prices to move upwards substantially towards par with European Benchmark which we are currently lag significantly. Predicting that the high prices will continue into 2023, Mr Morrison said that many finishers are wary of soring input costs to finish animals in early spring and will be looking to finish them later on grass later. He noted that factories had better be prepared to pay premium rates if they wanted animals in February, March and even through to May.  

“Nobody is going to spend a fortune finishing cattle on nuts and then bring them in to get a derisory price from the factories. We think that farmers are going to hold off until possibly April and finish them on grass”, said Mr. Morrison.

“The average reported Irish R3 steer price as of a fortnight ago was €4.52/kg excluding VAT, which was down 27c/kg from mid-September 6. The UK equivalent was making €5.11 The EU price for young bulls increased 7c/kg from €4.99/kg to €5.06/kg excluding VAT, whilst the UK steer price increased 5c/kg from €5.07/kg to €5.12/kg ex VAT.   As is by now customary, Ireland is yet again the exception where our prices have fallen.  Every market we sell into or bear any comparison to has rising prices, but our factories have cut the price they pay us. Every enquiry and review into our beef sector just comes up against this mystery where our beef prices seem to be deliberately disconnected from everyone else’s – even the markets that we sell into – and we want to know why?” said the ICMSA Livestock Chairperson. 

“We have so many of these ‘Vision’ and ‘Forum’ reports that set out to look at the underlying problems in our beef sector and always seem to start and finish with what farmers must do – or must be made to do. In the meantime, we have glaring anomalies around the prices paid by factories that are never addressed – much less answered.  This coming Spring is might well be the ‘Wake-up’ call that our beef factories need; they are going to have to get their prices up to a level that gives farmers a margin after their inputs and it’s going to take a lot for farmers to believe the factories will do that because we have been burned by them so many times before”, said Mr. Morrison.

Ends     29 November 2022


Des Morrison, 087-2263331

Chairperson, ICMSA Livestock Committee


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office