'Organic beef market is heading for over-supply'
There are signs that Ireland's organic beef sector is hitting a log-jam.
"The organic beef market is oversupplied at the moment and there is a backlog of two months in getting cattle into Good Herdsmen," the company's procurement officer Rory Callanan said at last week's organic farm walk hosted by Tom and Gemma Dunne in Durrow, Co Laois.
However, an organic farmer attending the walk, who did not wish to be named because the sector is so small, told the Farming Independent, that he has heard of backlogs of several months.
There are only two processors of organic beef cattle in the country, Good Herdsman and Slaney Foods, which means ABP has a major share in the organic market.
In the discussion on the farm, another farmer pointed out that many organic store cattle are currently being "lost" from the system, that there is not enough of a price premium on stores to prevent them from leaking into the conventional sector.
He expressed particular concern for new entrants, who have gone organic in the past few years.
The sector has recently seen a large influx of new entrants. Some 600 farmers began converting to organic in 2015, bringing the total number of organic farmers in Ireland to 1,800. About 70pc of the total are cattle farmers.
But Rory Callanan said the backlog is partly a seasonal thing, that there is always a build-up at this time of year, as some farmers have limited overwintering facilities.