Bulls off-loaded at marts as factory quotes cut by 10c/kg
The crisis surrounding the reluctance of meat factories to slaughter bulls has deepened this week as some farmers resort to off-loading their bulls at marts.
Kilkenny Mart saw a fivefold increase in the number of heavy bulls presented for sale last week, according to auctioneer George Candler.
"We had up to 70 bulls sold through the ring here, whereas we would normally only have a handful," he said.
"They were mostly Friesian crosses, with some continental types too, but there wasn't much of a premium for the latter -- 10c/kg at most over the €1.90/kg average."
Other mart managers said that they were getting more and more calls from distressed farmers looking for any outlet for their animals.
"I'm taking a lot of calls on this but I'm not encouraging lads to bring their bulls here unless I think we have a good outlet for them," said Tullow Mart's Eric Driver.
"The factories are really out of line on this one," he added.
Despite a series of meetings between IFA representatives and the factories over the last week, bull quotes have slipped by another 10c/kg this week, with some R-grade bulls being quoted as low as 355c/kg.