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Thursday 13 December 2018

More farm organisations join IFA in boycott of Beef Forum

Beef Farmers take part in a previous IFA protest. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Beef Farmers take part in a previous IFA protest. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

ICSA has announced that it will not to attend the upcoming Beef Forum scheduled for Wednesday due to the lack of solidarity shown by meat processors in recent weeks.

It's also understood that ICMSA will not pass a picked by IFA. IFA has plans to lead a protest of farmers outside Wednesday's meeting and will also not participate in the forum.

Addressing the issue, ICSA president Patrick Kent said “Cutting prices week after week is shameful. It shows complete contempt for farmers and is particularly egregious when many are on their knees due to increased costs.

"There is no point in attending a roundtable discussion when factories are attending in bad faith.”

Efforts by the factories to cut beef prices by a further 5c/kg last week to 370c/kg for steers and 380c/kg for heifers have prompted a furious reaction from the IFA.

"It is a scandal the way the meat factories have systematically cut cattle prices here, forcing prices down well below the cost of production and inflicting severe losses on farmer suppliers," claimed IFA livestock chairman Angus Woods.

Industry sources said the factory cuts were not being pushed in a stringent manner, and most cattle were still being bought at last week's quotes of 375c/kg and 385c/kg for steers and heifers respectively.

But with last week's kill holding at over 38,000hd, finishers predict that the total kill could breach the 40,000hd threshold over the coming weeks which would ease the way for further price cuts. Since mid-August the factories have pulled quotes by 20c/kg or the equivalent of €70-80/hd.

Mr Woods pointed out that during the same period British steer prices have risen to the equivalent of €4.47/kg (£3.80/kg) which equates to a differential of €250/hd between Irish and British steer prices.

"Livestock farmers feel they are being shafted and are not prepared to take it any longer," Mr Woods said.

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