Farm Ireland
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Tuesday 11 December 2018

Meat factories accused of 'hijacking' drought conditions to cut beef prices by €80/head

Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The IFA has accused meat factories of 'hijacking drought conditions to cut beef prices and undermine the market, saying that over the past four weeks prices have been cut by up to €80/head.

IFA President Joe Healy said factories are taking advantage of the drought conditions and imposing unjustified price cuts ahead of the market.

He said over the last four weeks, prices have been cut by 20c/kg or up to €80 per head, which is the profit margin in most cases.

Healy called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to get tough with the factories and demand they stop the unnecessary 'price rot'.

He said the Minister can no longer remain silent on the factories and must demand that they show some level of respect for his work on market access.

However, a spokesperson for Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said that officially reported prices by the Department of Agriculture show that cattle prices have weakened around this time for the past four years.

Cormac Healy, Senior Director, Meat Industry Ireland, said that from a market perspective, exporters report that there is strong competition for beef from lower priced meat proteins.

"These trends are market related and any suggestions that the recent price falls are due to processors taking advantage of drought conditions are simply wrong and unjustified.”

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"Also, while demand for manufacturing beef remains stable reflecting positive burger sales, the exceptionally warm weather has affected demand for steaks with prices for certain steak cuts back 10pc in the last three weeks alone and returns from the 5th quarter and hides remain under significant pressure."

He also said that the latest European Commission beef price report shows the overall all-categories price paid to Irish farmers for cattle is 110pc of the EU average and the overall Irish cattle price is third highest in the EU.

“Everyone is acutely aware and understanding of the challenges at farm level at present but laying the blame at the processors’ door is misguided,” he said.

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