IFA National Livestock Chairman Michael Doran has issued a strong warning to meat factories who he accused of holding back on a badly needed cattle price increase.
He said, “factories need to make it abundantly clear to their retail and wholesale customers right now that they will not have the beef at prices less than €3.50/kg out of sheds. Winter finishers are not going to tolerate another year of losses.”
The IFA livestock leader said as soon as the grass cattle are out of the system, supplies should tighten rapidly and finishers must dig in and insist on major price increases.
Michael Doran said the factories are in a very strong position with retailers to insist on substantial price increases. He said beef is in very short supply on both the EU and world markets. World beef prices are up 50% on this time last year. There are no alternatives supplies available and the Department of Agriculture figures show that Irish cattle numbers are down a massive 330,000 head compared to last year.
The IFA livestock leader said Teagasc has produced the facts and figures on the economics of winter finishing. Nobody at factory or retail level has challenged this data.
Michael Doran said that the blatant disregard and lack of respect being shown by some factories and their agents towards farmers in buying cattle is an utter disgrace.
He said IFA has clear examples of cases where factories and their agent have bought cattle off farmers under complete false pretences. In some cases the agent will quote a base price and the factory will pay a completely different base price on the docket.
The IFA Livestock leader said the latest move by some factories in attempting to impose a hefty weight limit penalty without informing the farmers before hand is nothing short of daylight robbery. Michael Doran said farmers must strongly reject weight limit penalties.
He said the days when a cattle man’s word was his bond is fast disappearing among factories and agents with this type of sharp practice.
Michael Doran said no farmers should part with cattle to any agent or factory without clearly knowing the full terms of trade. He said the base price must be clear. Any deductions or bonus must be up front, fully explained and transparent.
Mr Doran said if an agent or procurement manager is not in a position to provide this information and explain it fully to the farmer, he should not have the job and the farmers should not sell to him.