New ICSA chief wants action on deepening bull beef crisis
A cartel run by the beef processors is to blame for deliberately depressed bull prices and anti-competitive practices, delegates at last Thursday's annual meeting of the ICSA claimed.
Furious delegates went as far as accusing Teagasc of implicitly encouraging farmers to get into producing bull beef.
Incoming ICSA president Patrick Kent told the meeting that current beef export numbers were masking an extremely serious situation in bull beef production.
"It seems unthinkable that a farmer with quality bulls in his shed can't get them killed. But that is what is happening from the north-west to the north-east," he said.
"Farmers are wondering if they would be better off investing in Greencore or Glanbia or Google instead of cattle.
"At least Greencore shares don't have to be fed everyday, they don't require expensive housing and they are not subject to cross-compliance inspections. Better still, you don't have to sell them at 16 months," Kent said
"It's not so long ago that beef processors codded farmers and encouraged them to undermine the export of calves to veal units in Holland. 'Keep the Friesians at home boys,' they were told. The farmers responded and now the impact is not only being felt by those with Friesian bulls but long-standing continental beef men," Kent said.
"We are angry. We need answers. We need to get these cattle processed," he added.