IFA National Livestock chairman Henry Burns this week accused the factories of driving winter finishers into loss-making territory with their latest moves on prices. He reminded factories that Teagasc figures have clearly shown winter finishers need a price of over €4.30/kg to get a small margin this year.
Henry Burns said factories are sending all the wrong signals to winter finishers on price cutting. He said this will compound seasonality and damage the sectors ability to service the year round retail trade.
The IFA Livestock leader said there is no doubt that finished cattle numbers will tighten and tighten rapidly over the next number of weeks and months. He said the facts on the numbers are that on the latest AIMS data for April cattle numbers between 12 and 36 months of age are down a massive 180,000 head compared to this time last year.
Henry Burns said feeders are digging in hard and resisting the lower quoted prices from the factories. He said factories are getting it much harder to get cattle this week. The general base price for steers is €4.10 and €4.20 for heifers. A significant volume of cattle are being killed at prices above these levels on contract and customer type arrangements with the factories.