'Factories stalling beef index plans'
The meat industry is stalling efforts to create a beef price index, claimed IFA presidential candidate Henry Burns.
"In the dairy industry we have a price index. In beef we are fighting for that at European level, but the meat industry is resisting it all the way. In the absence of it, we have no way of getting information on wholesale prices between the farmer and the supermarket," Mr Burns said at last week's IFA presidential debate in Limerick.
"In the US there are 150 people within the US Department of Agriculture working on reporting supermarket prices twice daily," the IFA livestock chairman said.
A spokesman for Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said the EU Commission publishes the beef prices paid in every member state weekly, and Irish cattle prices are at 105pc of the EU average.
MII pointed out it worked with Bord Bia to give a market analysis of beef exports at the recent Beef Forum which showed cuts and market channels in retail, food servicing and manufacturing.
A spokesman said this showed the "complexity and diversity of the market channels" and also showed the "impossible task of running a price index that could encompass the complexity and diversity of cuts, markets and channels". "It was also accepted that no other member state in the EU has such a beef price index," he said.
Joe Healy said that research had shown that a heifer for which the farmer received €800 retailed out at a return of €2,200.
"We have proved that we are too easily dictated to and we need to be a lot stronger," he said.