By Philip Clarke
IRISH beef prices received a fillip this week following a Brussels decision to accept some 769t of O grade steer beef into intervention, the first time it has made any such purchases since 1999.
The buy-up will take the front ends of about 6500 cattle off the market in the next two weeks.
On average the Irish tender was at Euro221/kg, which is equivalent to 70.5p/lb for O grade animals, amounting to a forequarter price of 56.5p/lb, said Irish Farmers Association livestock chairman, Derek Deane.
This is 5p/lb above the current quote for forequarters and should add 2p/lb to carcass values.
Irish R3 steers are fetching 83p/lb (143p/kg sterling equivalent), which falls far short of what farm ministers promised last June, in terms of supporting autumn cattle values, says the IFA.
But farm minister Joe Walsh said the fact that Brussels was paying Euro4/100kg more for steers than for young bulls showed it was committed to supporting the market.
Agenda 2000 had also secured direct aid worth Ir1.08/kg (49p/lb). This should not be overlooked when assessing the overall situation.