IFA President Joe Healy said there was a concerted effort by the meat factories to drive down the price of cattle. He said “This is naked opportunism by the factories on the back of beef farmers”.
“There has been a huge national focus on the threat posed by Brexit to beef and the national economy. A cut to cattle prices would be an irresponsible act of sabotage by the meat factories at a time when the focus needs to be on Brexit,” he said.
Farmers selling cattle at a base price of €3.75/kg for steers and €3.85/kg for heifers are taking cuts of 20-25c/kg below last year’s price levels, or reductions of up to €100 per head. Farmers selling young bulls have been hit for €200 per head.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said IFA has been in contact with all of the main meat factory bosses and MII on the cattle price issue.
He said “With numbers set to tighten over the coming weeks, IFA and farmers are expecting cattle prices to rise”.
Cattle prices in our main export market in the UK are £3.46/kg for w/e March 9th, equivalent to €4.24/kg at 86p/€ exchange rate. This is 40c/kg above the Irish price or €150 per animal. Across the main EU markets, R3 males are making from €3.90 to €4.30/kg.