Price divide's a big concern
We might be beating them when it comes to the oval ball but it is a different story on the beef front.
Our cattle finishers are justifiably very angry that some of our own processors are able to pay a 4L price of 350c/kg, according to Bord Bia, to UK farmers for their stock while those same processors continue to treat Irish farmers to a base of as low as 291c/kg.
They think that farmers should trust and have faith in them. Their actions are disgraceful; their ongoing treatment of genuine, honest, beef-producing farmers is despicable. Endless amounts of propaganda tell us that we are moving forward in the right direction. Well, I'm sorry, but I, for one, find it impossible to buy into this. While the same buyers continue to pay up to 60c/kg more, or as much as €220 on a 370kg carcass, to farmers in our biggest market than they are willing to pay to us, I will remain unconvinced.
To the best of my knowledge, when their representative spoke in Tullamore last December and added up the extra costs associated with killing cattle here, he came up with a figure of around €80/animal. Why not have that gap and give us the difference, which at the moment would appear to be worth an extra €140/hd to the farmer? Someone out there needs to grab the bull by the horns on this one, and fast. If one Kilkenny man can lead his troops to conquer the hurling fields, we better hope that his fellow county man can do the same with the farmers.
Base quotes for steers remain in the 291-294c/kg range, with the heifers generally running at a premium of 6c/kg above this. Factories included here are most of the AIBP, Dawn and Kepak plants, and Moyvalley, Slaney and Kildare.
Liffey is on 294c/kg for both males and females, while I heard a figure as low as 290c/kg being mentioned for Dunbia. Of course, the 6c/kg quality-assurance bonus is on top of those prices, but farmers continue to be confused even after they hammer out a price and are wondering whether or not this 6c/kg is included or not.
ICSA's Sean Scully expressed dissatisfaction that not all cattle coming off quality-assured farms are getting this bonus.