IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said there is real anger and frustration building among cattle farmers over the way they see factories holding back on a much needed beef price lift. He said since early November sterling has strengthened against the Euro adding to UK returns.
At the same time the British farmer price has held rock solid at £3.95 to £4.00/kg which is equivalent to almost €5.00/kg. “Clearly the factories have room to increase price to reflect the higher production costs.”
Henry Burns said the messages from the factories on price is sending a very negative signal to progressive finishers and both suckler and dairy beef breeders. He said some of the big processors have attacked the Quality Payment System in a very negative way attempting to impose dual base pricing and heavily discounting for non-quality assured stock as well as trying weight limits. Henry Burns said these were never part of the QPS and are nothing short of a move by some factories to undermine the system.
In addition, Henry Burns said it is extremely frustrating that some of the big factory groups who encouraged famers to keep bull calves from the dairy herd two years ago are now turning their back on these producers and not evening offering to bid on dairy beef bulls.
Henry Burns said some plants paid €4.05 base for steers and €4.15 for heifers with some top prices of €4.20/kg paid. He said young bulls are at €4.00/kg with some plants paying €4.10 for U grades and €4.00 for R grades this week.