Factory Opportunism Unacceptable, Beef Prices Must Push On – IFA

IFA National Livestock Chair Declan Hanrahan said the attempts by factories to take advantage of the weather difficulties farmers are enduring is unacceptable. 

He said market conditions and the supplies of finished cattle justify stronger beef prices.

The IFA National Livestock Chair said the Prime Export Benchmark Price increased a further 4c/kg in the latest Bord Bia report reflecting the demand for beef in our key export markets.

He said our prices are currently over 10c/kg behind this time last year while beef prices in our largest market, the UK are running over 12c/kg ahead of last year for the latest reported week.

Declan Hanrahan said there is no justification for this and factories must move beef prices on.

Demand for beef is extremely strong in the UK, Northern Ireland factories are freely offering 5c/kg more for ROI cattle than some factories here for direct slaughter, agents for these factories are also very active in marts adding to competition for finished and forward store cattle. 

The IFA National Livestock Chair said Bord Bia had predicted supplies to be back 30,000 to 40,000 cattle for the year, already when adjusted over 24,000 more cattle have been processed to-date this year which significantly reduces the numbers available for factories in the coming weeks and months.

The strong performance of live exports to-date for stores and weanlings and the projections for the year will also reduce the numbers of cattle available to factories further.

He said suckler and beef farmers are incurring huge additional expense due to the weather conditions, with delayed turnout and increased feed requirements on farms which will have knock on effects for the year.

The IFA National Livestock Chair said attempts by factories to take advantage of these difficulties by holding back on beef price and playing their usual games of pushing back cattle is not acceptable, will not wash with farmers and must stop.

Factories must reflect the full value of our key markets by increasing beef prices to offset these additional costs on farms and to retain confidence in the live trade.

Declan Hanrahan said market conditions justify further price increases, supplies are expected to be extremely tight over the coming weeks and months, farmers should not buy in to any negative propaganda from factories or their agents, sell hard and demand further beef price increases.

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