Farm Ireland

Monday 21 May 2018

Former IFA leader Dillon links up with Goodman's ABP

John Dillon
John Dillon
Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Former IFA leader John Dillon has partnered up with one of the country's biggest beef processors, ABP.

Mr Dillon, who along with his five sons, farms over 1,000ac of land in east Limerick.

While one son is constructing a parlour to start milking 50 heifers this spring, the family invested heavily in recent years in two large specialist beef finishing sheds capable of accommodating more than 1,200 head of stock between them.

One of these sheds has been filled with Hereford stock, while the other has been filled with continentals.

Mr Dillon, who also heads up a farm and environmental consultancy, was reluctant to reveal details of the arrangement with ABP.

The move follows a significant ramping up in the number of sheds and facilities being contracted by major beef processors such as ABP and Kepak.

It is believed that the moves were partly driven by the increasing competition for premium Aberdeen Angus and Hereford stock.

"Processors such as Slaney were becoming more active in sourcing these types of stock for domestic retail contracts, so it became important for the likes of ABP to be able to guarantee supplies," explained Bord Bia's beef specialist, Joe Burke.

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He estimated that close to 10pc of the weekly prime cattle kill is coming from processor-owned stock, with ABP alone fattening 10,000 cattle in several facilities around the country at any one time.

"Some think the move to fatten more of their own stock has back-fired because the price has come down since they bought them.

"But the reality is that it also is a sure-fire way to keep prices under control," said Mr Burke.

Irish Independent