Factories and farmers lock horns on prices as agents' attempt to pull quotes below €4/kg
The factories and beef finishers were on a collision course this week as processors attempted to pull steer prices below €4/kg.
Factories have dropped quoted prices for steers to €3.95/kg, and heifers to €4.05/kg.
However, strong farmer resistance was forcing agents to pay above these levels to secure stock, with most bullocks being bought at €4/kg, and €4.10/kg available for heifers.
The move is seen as an attempt by the beef processors to cut cattle prices before the autumn flush of cattle comes on stream.
Some industry commentators suggested that factories were aiming to get steers back to €3.80/kg by September.
The farm organisations have reacted angrily to what has been labelled an "aggressive attempt" to drive down prices.
ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan urged farmers "to hold the line" above the €4/kg. "Factory stocks are depleted and there is every reason for farmers to take a hard line," Mr Phelan said.
"While there are reports of factories quoting sub €4/kg, the reality is that the demand for beef is still strong, particularly in our most important export market, the UK," he added.