IFA President Tim Cullinan led an IFA delegation to meet Meat Industry Ireland (MII) on the recent price cuts attempted by factories.
He told the industry representative body the recent attempts by factories to reduce beef prices are not justified based on current market information, and farmers have reacted angrily to these attempts by factories.
He said the Bord Bia Prime Export Benchmark price tracker for the latest week, which is a composite of prices in our main export markets, does not show anything like the cuts factories are trying to enforce here.
Beef prices in the UK are strong and steady, rising over 7p/kg since the beginning of January and with sterling strengthening by 3% over the same period to 87.6p/€, market conditions for Irish meat factories are favourable.
Supplies of finished cattle are tight and estimated to reduce by up to 80,000 head this year. UK production for the year is predicted to contract by 5%.
Recognising there are clearly ongoing issues with the food service sector due to COVID-19 controls, Tim Cullinan said the supermarket price for beef in the UK strengthened in the past week and sales remain strong as purchasing habits have evolved throughout the past year and are replicated by EU consumers.
The IFA President said MII were left in no doubt that undermining of the market conditions by meat factories is not acceptable.
IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden highlighted the level of farmer frustration at the attempts by factories to reduce prices and the increased production costs associated with finished cattle at this stage of the year. In addition, he said meal prices continue to rise.
Brendan Golden said the situation is further compounded by the double standards applied by the EU when it comes to trade deals in comparison to the standards imposed on Irish and EU farmers. “Our key EU and UK markets continue to be undermined by imports from countries not meeting our production standards,” he said.