IFA President Joe Healy said cattle farmers would have expected a lot more action from Minister Creed and the Government in calling the factories to task on the cattle price issue.
He repeated his call on Minister Creed to call in the factories and tell them bluntly to stop cutting the cattle price. “It’s time the Minister demonstrated he is on the farmers side.” He said the Minister has undertaken a lot of work on market access but it’s not giving a return back to farmers.
He said the Minister met the banks this week on the fodder situation, which is positive, but he can no longer ignore the factories and must take action.
Joe Healy said the meat factories have taken advantage of their suppliers during the severe drought conditions. He said the factories have cut cattle prices unnecessarily over recent weeks destabilising the beef market and eroding confidence in the sector. He said “beef farmers feel very let down by the factories”.
Joe Healy contrasted the negative approach from the meat factories with the much more supportive approach from the dairy co-ops towards their suppliers, where many co-ops are paying drought top-ups on the milk price as well as subsidising feed supplies and providing additional credit facilities.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said the factories can stabilise beef prices at this critical juncture. IFA has been meeting with factory management at local level around the country highlighting the need for stability in the price. He said prime cattle prices must be stabilised and farmers cannot afford any further price cuts. He said incomes are being washed away with very substantial increase in costs and falling price returns.
He said cattle prices in our main export market in the UK remain very strong having eased only slightly for week ending July 14th with the R3 steer price at £3.77/kg, which is the equivalent to €4.46/kg incl. vat at an exchange rate of 89p/€.