Farm Ireland

Saturday 17 March 2018

Factories slash beef price by up to €50/hd

Processors trying to ‘panic’ farmers into selling claim farm leaders

Cattle grazing at Ballyloughan Castle in Bagenalstown, Co Carlow. Photo: Roger Jones
Cattle grazing at Ballyloughan Castle in Bagenalstown, Co Carlow. Photo: Roger Jones

Louise Hogan and Claire Mc Cormack

FACTORY moves to slash beef prices by €20 to €50/hd has provoked a furious reaction from the farm organisations.

The main processors pulled heif­er quotes by 10c/kg yesterday or €35-40/hd, steer prices are back 5c/ kg, or around €15-20/hd, and cow quotes are down by up to 20c/kg or over €50/hd.

The move comes despite a reported shortage of manufacturing beef across Europe.

The IFA, ICSA and ICMSA have described the price cuts as a bla­tant attempt to panic farmers into moving stock and they urged members to “hold tough”.

Reports from around the country indicated that while factories were getting cows at the lower quotes, they were finding it more difficult to secure supplies of heifers and steers.

“This is a transparent attempt to panic farmers at a time when good grazing conditions and farmers busy at silage and hay is making cattle scarce,” claimed ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan.

He accepted that cattle numbers over the past month were higher than last year, but he claimed that supplies were swelled by stock from factory-owned feedlots.

“Good weather all across Europe is also positive for farmers as the barbeque season looks like driv­ing beef demand upwards,” said Mr Phelan.

Also Read

IFA president Joe Healy said there was no credible reason for the cut in factory quotes and he urged farmers to face down the attempted price cuts.

He described the efforts to pull beef quotes and talk down the trade as an attempt to “force out very tight supplies of prime cattle”. Mr Healy added that British beef prices rose by 16c/kg over the last 10 weeks and currently stood at the equivalent of €4.48/kg.

The cuts were also slammed by Michael Guinan of ICMSA. He said slashing cow quotes was an easy op­tion for the factories as dairy farmers “had to move them”.


However, he contended that beef supplies remained tight, and with good grazing conditions, there was no guarantee that farmers would move heifers or steers at the lower quotes.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has warned that sterling’s weakness since the British general election would cause difficulties for Irish beef exports.

The processor body also pointed to the fact that Irish beef prices were currently 11pc higher than the EU average price.

Farmer representatives coun­tered that the sterling exchange had returned to 87.5p to the euro this week. They said the cut in beef quotes was an obvious attempt to get prices down before larger numbers of cattle start coming off grass in early July.

Online Editors

More in Beef