Questions raised on viability of beef production targets
Analysis shows price fall when supply rises
An analysis of beef supply and price trends over the past two decades has raised questions about the viability of the Food Harvest 2020 beef production targets.
The 40pc increase outlined in the Food Harvest 2020 report in the total value of output from the beef sector has "largely been met", according to chairman of the activation group, Michael Dowling.
However, beef farmers are becoming increasingly disillusioned with initiatives designed to increase production as prices here come under more and more pressure.
Their pessimism is backed by analysis of supply and price data from 1992-2013.
Department of Agriculture and Bord Bia statistics on production and prices for these years reveal a worrying pattern for finishers planning to increase production.
The figures show that the average price paid to producers fell almost every year that supply increased (1996, 1999, 2001, 2003).
Conversely, farmer returns for their animals increased every year, bar 2012, that supply declined (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011).
Some of the standout examples from these years include 1996 when a 10pc increase in supply was accompanied by a 16pc drop in prices.