IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods has accused the factories of undermining the beef market with unnecessary cattle price cuts geared at eroding confidence at farmer level.
He said the factory price cuts are not justified based on market returns, pointing out that cattle prices in our main market in the UK continue to rise to the equivalent of €4.48/kg. In addition, he said there is no beef in stock. EU and international markets are stronger than last year and hide and offal returns are also higher. Last year, there was a serious overhang of beef from the cull in the EU dairy sector, which is not the case this year.
On supplies, Angus Woods said the increase in the kill to-date, lower carcase weights, and the increase in live exports, will leave cattle supplies tighter than anticipated for the second half of the year.
The IFA Livestock leader said farmers need to be well armed with the true market position and not be manipulated or bullied by self-serving propaganda.
He said the base price for steers is generally €4.00/kg with some deals at €4.05/kg and all factories quoting €3.95/kg. On heifers, he said the general base price is €4.10/kg but again plants are quoting less to frighten producers into selling.
Angus Woods said the mart trade remains firm with strong live export and farmer buying.