IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said the opportunity now presented by the suspension of Brazilian beef going into the lucrative and high-volume Chinese market must be grasped by the meat factories.
“We have just recently regained access to this market, a market our factories told us was critically important when we did not have access to it. This must now be reflected immediately in prices to farmers,” he said.
The void that has been created by the suspension of beef imports from Brazil puts Irish beef in a very strong position, and it must be capitalised on by factories and its value returned in stronger beef prices to farmers.
Bord Bia predict supplies of beef cattle will be down by 60,000 head this year, with all of this reduction taking place in the first half of the year. Taking into account the throughput to-date – back in the region of 1,000 head – this points to a significant tightening in cattle supplies for the coming weeks and months as demand for beef increases.
He said the gamesmanship of factories in trying to hold back on price this week was not working and the renewed farmer confidence from the potential now presented with the Chinese market will ensure prices move on.
Teagasc figures clearly show prices need to be in the region of €6.00/kg for winter finishers to be covered and we are still a long way short of this target.
“This figure must be the minimum target price for beef and surpassing it is a reasonable expectation if the factories and Bord Bia ensure Irish beef fills some of the void created by the absence of Brazilian beef from the Chinese market,” he said.
He said farmers should sell hard and demand immediate price increases.