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Irish cattle throughputs slightly down on week, cow prices softer

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Nearly 39,000 cattle were processed during the week ended 14 March, which was an increase of over 3,000 animals from the same period in 2019, according to Bord Bia. It was, however, a decrease of nearly 2,000 on the previous week. Over 405,000 cattle have been processed in the year so far, a slight increase on 2019. 

Recently, demand for cows and out of spec cattle has dropped. Demand in the foodservice sector has fallen, following measures taken in response to the coronavirus. Cow prices have fallen by 10-20c/kg in the latest week.

As a net exporter of beef, the Irish beef sector is sensitive to the overall level of demand, regardless of whether it is consumed in the home or out of it. Approximately 70% of beef imported into the UK comes from Ireland, which is around 50% of the beef Ireland exports. As such, the fortunes of our two countries are tied together, and so livestock prices have a close relationship too. Even though the UK is not self-sufficient in beef, together with Ireland, the bloc is a net exporter.

With the economic downturn that coronavirus brings, it is likely that the overall level of demand in Europe will be lower. Beef production, both here and in Ireland, is forecast to be lower in 2020 though.

Duncan Wyatt

Lead Analyst - Red Meat

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