Cattle 'glut' looming warn farm leaders
The future of Ireland's bull beef sector and concerns over a potential glut of cattle at the factory gates late next year will be key issues at today's crunch Beef Forum meeting.
Other topics expected to be raised will be the controversial 30-month cut off point and the quality payment system (QPS) for cattle.
"We have to go back to some of the key issues raised in the initial beef roundtable talks that haven't been resolved," said ICSA general secretary Eddie Punch.
The ICSA's beef chairman Edmond Phelan said he would be raising serious concerns over the "profitability" of the cattle industry, describing as "madness" the prices that are being paid for average-quality cattle in marts at the moment.
He warned that with over 100,000 extra calves on the ground this year there would be a "huge glut" of cattle destined for the factories unless more were exported abroad.
"We could be facing into a worse price in '16 or early '17 than we did in 2014 unless we can get them out live as weanlings. Meat factories will show no mercy if there is a glut in supplies," Mr Phelan said.
Many farmers cut their losses and left the bull beef trade last year due to poor prices
Mr Punch said there was a lot of "unfinished business" on bull beef and many producers lost confidence in the industry last year with tighter specs on bulls at factories.