Beef Factories Failing Farmers as 33c/kg Gap with Bord Bia Price Index Opens Up

IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said the beef factories can and must do more for beef farmers.

He said beef prices in our key exports markets remain steady and strong, opening up a gap of 33c/kg above our price in the latest Bord Bia Prime Export Benchmark EU market price.

“The opportunism of factories in continually dropping prices when they know farmers are under pressure to sell must stop,” he said.

The IFA Livestock Chairman said meat factories, and more importantly our key customers in the UK and EU markets, are acutely aware of the production costs on farms and must do more to offset these from the market place.

“The EU export Benchmark Price has increased by 6c/kg in the latest week, showing the strength of demand for beef in this key market which is at odds with the relentless and unjustified price cuts by factories on beef prices,” he said.

Indications are that supplies of suitably finished grass cattle are tightening on the ground.  Last week’s kill of 40,296 brings total throughput to 113,412 above last year’s levels, with steer numbers dropping by 539 head.

The level of throughput to-date has dealt with a significant amount of the projected increased kill for the year, with less than 7,000 additional cattle available for the remainder of the year based on Bord Bia projections.

Brendan Golden said cracks are starting to appear in the stranglehold factories have had on price, with deals above the lower quotes easier to secure in some factories this week.

“The market can and must return more to beef farmers and meat factories must start reflecting the full value of the market place in beef prices,” he said.

The IFA Livestock Chairman said the energy and input cost crisis facing beef farmers this winter cannot be absorbed by farmers.

Brendan Golden said Teagasc have identified beef prices of €5.85/6.00/kg as necessary to cover the increase in costs for winter finishers and factory quotes are currently running €1.50/kg below these prices.

He said winter finishers are making key production decisions on their farms and it’s not acceptable that they are being exposed to all of the risks in investing in finishing cattle while the factories refuse to provide minimum price guarantees for farmers.

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