IFA National Livestock Chair Brendan Golden said market developments over the past few weeks are at odds with the negative and unnecessary messages coming from factories and their agents on beef price.
He said over the past three weeks the Bord Bia Prime Export Benchmark Price has steadied and strengthened, moving 16c/kg above our price. This movement in the Export Tracker is a clear indication of market conditions in our key beef markets, the UK and the EU, and must be reflected in beef prices by factories.
The IFA National Livestock Chair said opportunism by factories on beef price will not be tolerated by farmers who are incurring unprecedented costs in producing beef to the highest standards in the world.
Brendan Golden said supplies of finished cattle are tightening considerably on the ground with throughput over recent weeks dropping by 1,400 head. Based on supply projections for the year, there will be over 30,000 fewer cattle available to factories over the coming months.
“Farmers should not buy into the factory narrative on price. Very few cattle have been bought at this week’s lower quotes and it is important farmers take back control and sell hard.”
“The prices they are prepared to pay is very evident in the competition between factory agents in marts where finished and forward store prices are freely exceeding factory quotes,” Brendan Golden added.
The IFA National Livestock Chair said factories can and must do more on beef price, but there is also a key role for the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue in this space.
“The Minister has at his disposal two significant funds to assist suckler and beef farmers, the BAR and the recently-announced additional Commission supports which can be built to €28.5m. Both of these are for the purpose of supporting suckler and beef farmers in dealing with the current issues on farms; the impact of Brexit trade deals; and costs of production,” he said.
“In the first month of Australian access to the UK market, they have strategically targeted the high value cuts, supplying almost 25% of our average monthly supply of steaks to this key market,” he added.
“At the same time, bureaucrats and politicians at EU level are intent on forcing through a Mercosur trade deal that will have a disproportionate impact on Irish beef farmers by facilitating an additional 99,000 of tariff free beef from South America into the EU market.”
The IFA National Livestock Chair said the Minister must immediately move to provide direct funding to suckler and beef farmers from these significant funds that have been given to him by the EU Commission and he must ensure the Mercosur trade deal does not advance.