Northern Irish store steer prices fall by £64/head this year – LMC
Cattle prices in Northern Ireland have declined this year, with the prices paid for store steers dropping by £64 (€80) each on last year, data from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) shows.
The average price paid for store steers weighing 300-400kg this year was £721 (€904), back from £785 (€985) during the same time in 2015.
According to the LMC, the price farmers received for these animals this spring is 8.2% lower than the corresponding period last year.
The LMC reports that a number of factors have caused the store price to drop, including a lower beef price and higher store cattle numbers.
Lower Northern Irish beef price
The recent downward pressure on Northern Irish beef price has undermined the confidence of many cattle finishers.
According to the LMC, a lower beef price is being reflected in the prices that cattle finishers are willing to pay for stores.
The Northern Irish beef price has declined steadily since July 2015 to April 2016, with the beef price declining by about 10% during this period.
More stores on offer
The LMC also reports that store prices have been hit by an increase in the number of store cattle for sale in marts across Northern Ireland.
An increase in the number of beef sired calves registered on Northern Irish farms during the last 18 months has led to increased numbers of store cattle now, it shows.
The number of cattle in the 6-12 month age category in March 2016 was 177,184 head, up 5.2% on the same time in 2015 and up by 11.6% on March 2014 levels.
During March 2016 there were 23,320 dairy sired male cattle aged 6-12 months on NI farms, a 21.5% increase from 2015 levels, while dairy cattle aged 12-18 months increased by 16.3%.