The latest figures show that for the week ending May 28, the average Irish R3 steer price was 7c/kg ahead of the UK beef price.

According to Bord Bia’s Cattle Price Dashboard, the last time Irish beef price surpassed UK price was in April 2011, when the Irish R3 steer price was €3.41/kg and the UK equivalent was €3.40/kg.

The reported prices exclude VAT but include all bonuses such as for breed-based producer groups.

Both EU and UK prices peaked in April, with the UK R3 steer price reaching €5.26/kg on April 23, and the EU young bull average R3 steer price reaching at €5.17/kg on April 9. Both have declined since then, but despite this the Irish beef price has continued to rise to where it now sits at €5.26/kg.

In October last year, Irish beef price fell below the average EU beef price and remained so it until last month when it surpassed both the UK and EU beef price.

Beef prices in key Irish EU markets have edged back slightly over the past week and early indications would suggest that Irish beef price is beginning to plateau. However, there are a number of factors that will fall in the favor of prime cattle prices.

The total number of finished cattle available is beginning to tighten, with weekly beef kill figures showing a fall in weekly cattle throughput over the past three consecutive weeks.

While weekly kills are falling, the total beef kill to date this year is running 74,000 cattle (excluding veal) ahead of last year.

Bord Bia has recently amended its projection on this year’s total cattle kill, saying it will now rise by 100-110,000 head as opposed to the 70,000 head it had initially estimated.

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