Farm Ireland

Thursday 18 January 2018

IFA demand payment on the day

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

With cattle prices on a high, farmers are being warned to reduce their exposure to the risk of non- payment by buyers.

The IFA is urging farmers to insist on payment on the day for cattle supplied to meat factories and to use local marts for sales of younger stock.

IFA livestock chairman Henry Burns said the IFA policy on payment was clear: farmers should insist on immediate payment for their valuable finished stock.

"If any factory that is not in a position to meet that requirement, farmers should think again and examine other options," said Mr Burns.

"Given the increased value of livestock, farmers simply cannot afford to have a problem in relation to payment.

"There have been numerous examples down the years where payment difficulties emerged and farmers ended up with problems."

The closure of factories such as United Meat Packers, Henshaws of Limerick, Clover Meats and Tralee Beef and Lamb are some examples of where meat plants went out of business in recent years, while exporters Sallyview Estates also closed.

While the majority of farmers who supplied cattle to those buyers were paid in full, some individual farmers were left out of pocket as a result.

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The IFA man said farmers selling weanlings and store cattle should sell in their local mart, where payment in guaranteed.

"Any other arrangement such a private sales can be extremely risky," he added.

The incidence of animals being sold off the land in private sales is believed to be on the increase, coinciding with a growth in online advertising of livestock and other private export sales.

Figures from the Department of Agriculture AIMS/CMMS database show that around 800,000 animals move from farm to farm each year, with private sales accounting for the bulk of those movements.

"With today's higher cattle prices, the farmer's level of exposure is increased," warned Mr Burns. "Selling off the land is simply too big a risk to take in the tighter financial and banking climate we find ourselves in."

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