Beef talks to resume as prices remain under pressure

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Talks between the farming organisations and the meat factories are set to resume today as beef prices remain under pressure.

The discussions have led to some progress in key areas, with the meat factories agreeing to provide weighing scales at factories to allow live cattle to be weighed.

A review of the beef grading/pricing grid will take place and the terms of reference for the review were finalised last week between the parties.

Todays talks are set to focus on three outstanding issues when the parties reconvene.

Two of the three issues have agreement in principle, according to the document, including the provision of weighing facilities for live cattle at factory lairages. According to the document, the meat factories through Meat Industry Ireland (MII) have agreed to providing this service, but "at a nominal charge".

The document also says that written agreement can be provided by factories if requested when agreements are finalised between processor and suppliers on the terms of the sale.

It's understood the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed is expected to attend next Monday's meeting at Backweston.

The Beef Plan Movement, which aims to safeguard the future of Irish beef farmers, began protesting outside meat factories around Ireland in late July.

By the time the protests were suspended last Friday, August 9, the pickets had spread to around 20 factories.

The beef kill was down some 57pc on throughput seen prior to last week's protests, according to latest figures from the Department of Agriculture.

Some 15,065 cattle were killed in Department approved plants last week. This was back almost 20,000 on the 35,000 cattle killed in the week prior to the protest.

It comes as the first week of the protest saw throughput fall some 16pc or 6,000hd.

However it is understood there has been a sharp rise in the numbers of cattle being killed this week with prices said to be back some 5c/kg to 3.45c/kg.

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