Beef price cuts costing farmers €1m/week
Farmers have been counting the costs of the beef price cuts with the move costing them more than €1m this week.
Beef processors slashed prices by between €20/hd and €50/hd in a move which prompted an angry response from the farm organisations.
With factory buyers indicating that slaughter plants secured sufficient cattle supplies at the lower quotes - despite many farmers refusing to sell - it is estimated that the price drop cost livestock farmers more than €200,000 a day last week.
The factories pulled heifer quotes by 10c/kg or €35-40/hd, steer prices dropped 5c/kg or around €15-20/hd, bull quotes fell by 10c/kg or more than €30/hd, and cow quotes were cut 20c/kg or over €50/hd.
Given the current profile of the weekly beef kill, the impact of the price reductions was significant - even when taking the price reductions at the lower end of the range.
With the weekly steer kill averaging around 12,000hd, the €15/hd cut in price equates to a loss of €180,000 for farmers.
Similarly, the €35/hd drop in heifer prices represents an overall loss of around €300,000 when taken across the average weekly kill of 8,700hd.
The €30/hd bull price cut cost farmers €135,000 for the average kill of 4,500 animals.
Meanwhile, the €50/hd reduction in cow quotes cost farmers close to €415,000 last week given that the average kill is around 8,300hd.
The overall cost of the cuts comes to just over €1m.
Reacting to the findings, Michael Guinan of the ICMSA described last week's beef price cuts as indefensible.
"The factories are using Brexit and sterling as reasons for the recent price cuts, but there is no justification on either front," Mr Guinan said.
He pointed out that sterling had strengthened to an equivalent of 87.5p to the euro since the British general election, and that demand for manufacturing beef in Britain and across Europe remained strong.
Meat Industry Ireland (MII) last week pointed out that Irish beef prices were 11pc higher than the EU average.
The farm organisations claim that the cut in beef quotes was an attempt to get prices down before larger numbers of cattle start coming off grass in early July.
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