IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Henry Burns strongly criticised the factories this week of taking advantage of the difficult weather conditions to pull beef prices. He accused the factories of talking down prices and undermining confidence in the trade.
Henry Burns said the facts are prices in our main export market in the UK remain very strong at the equivalent of over €4.50/kg. In addition, the exchange rate has improved in the last week and demand remains strong.
Henry Burns said despite scare tactics being put out by the factories on their inability to sell beef, cattle supplies remain very tight, there is not a kilo of beef in store and retail prices in the UK are up 5.9%, with purchases up 0.1% for the 52 week period to mid May 2012.
The IFA livestock leader said farmers are very concerned at the intent which factories are trying to undermine the cattle trade. “Last week factory bosses were linking increased numbers to a major price cut. This week factories decided to try and hit the price on the back of bad weather.”
Henry Burns said with all the negative signals from the factories, the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must redouble his efforts to re-open the live export trade to the Middle East and North Africa.
The IFA livestock leader said “with the factories setting out their stall on cattle prices, farmers expect Minister Coveney to provide the necessary competition from the live export trade.”