Beef prices reflect soaring European kill - MII
The factories and farm organisations clashed on cattle prices again this week as tougher farmer selling saw steers and heifers edge towards €3.75-3.85/kg.
While both the IFA and ICSA reiterated that the current factory quotes of €3.70-3.75 for steers and 10c/kg more for heifers left finishers nursing significant losses, processors argued that beef stocks across Europe were increasing sharply on the back of increased kills.
"Despite a more challenging market environment than this time last year and higher cattle throughput levels over the last two or three months, the price currently being paid for Irish cattle is just a few cents/kg off this time last year," Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland (MII) pointed out.
"Reflecting current market conditions and higher beef output, not just in Ireland but in the EU overall, we are seeing higher stocks of beef in the system than has been the case for several years."
However, IFA president Joe Healy claimed the "loss-making prices from the factories" over recent weeks had inflicted "serious damage on Irish livestock farmers and the beef sector".
He called on the factories to immediately increase prices by 10c/kg and pass back the improvements in British market prices.
Mr Healy claimed cattle prices had increased consistently for the last eight weeks and are currently at £3.78/kg (R3 grade steer). This is equivalent to €4.52/kg including VAT. The IFA pointed out that the price gap between Irish and British prices had widened to over €200/hd.
Meanwhile, the ICSA warned that it will continue its campaign of protests outside beef factories until prices improved.