Calls for Beef forum to be reconvened as beef price cut by up to €80/hd in four weeks

Cattle unloaded by farmer. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Cattle unloaded by farmer. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture and Food Charlie McConalogue has called on Minister Creed to immediately convene the Beef Forum.

Deputy McConalogue says the forum is needed to enable all stakeholders to input their proposals on how beef farmers can be directly supported.

“The Minister must make it clear to factories that the fodder crisis cannot be used to drop the price paid to farmers for cattle, as the severe fodder shortage crisis has transformed into a full-blown income crisis.

“Increased input costs for farmers have risen by up to 15% this year on average according to farming groups. This could increase with further fodder shortages over the winter months.

“It is incredulous that beef factories are pulling prices, at the very moment farmers are at their wits end with prices below €3.80/kg. In contrast, cattle prices in Britain, our main beef export market, have increased in the last few weeks in contrast to the prices cuts from Irish factories.

“The Beef Forum last met in February and an urgent meeting is now necessitated. If it is to be a meaningful entity, the Government must convene it on a regular basis and ensure timely decisions are taken to strengthen the role of the sector’s primary producer," he said.

Reports from some quar­ters sug­gested that by Wednesday or Thursday of last week an attempt was made to pull those prices by another 5c/kg.

This means that those who finish cattle have now lost 5c/kg every week for the last four weeks. On carcase weights from 330-390kg that’s €66-78/hd.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods accused the cattle factories of crippling cattle farmers financially with their obsession to cut beef prices and swell their own pockets. He said the latest drive by the meat plants to cut prices below a base price of €3.80/kg will do serious financial damage at farm level.

Angus Woods pointed out that cattle prices in our main export market in the UK had increased by 4p/kg per week for the last 3 weeks and he contrasted this with prices cuts from the Irish factories.

He said the factory pull on beef prices is inflicting massive damage on the weanling and store cattle trade in the marts across the country and undermining the suckler cow herd.

He said the trade was already under severe pressure from the drought and fodder situation but the factory price cuts had ripped confidence out of the trade.

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