At a meeting in Dublin earlier this week, IFA President, John Bryan, left the meat factories in no doubt about the anger among cattle farmers at the way beef prices were cut over recent weeks and the need for a price increase.
With the change in the weather, John Bryan said factories are finding it extremely difficult to get cattle this week and are having to pay higher prices. He said farmers are very busy on the ground and are not prepared to part with stock at quoted prices.
A number of factories have increased their kill days and also increased the price up to €3.90/kg base to get steers. Heifer prices are also rising because of very tight supplies and some plants have paid a base of €4.10/kg this week and flat prices of €4.20/kg have been paid.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said the factories had no argument with the Bord Bia market prices put forward by IFA to show that Irish cattle prices can increase. He said the facts speak for themselves and Irish prices can rise based on UK prices of €4.50-€4.60/kg and EU prices of over €4.00/kg and rising.
Henry Burns said supplies have tightened rapidly as this week has progressed. Agents are desperately looking for stock for later in the week and buying and killing cattle on the same day. He said the factories are no longer able to buy cattle at the quoted prices and farmers who are digging in are getting 5-10c/kg more.
Henry Burns said with the change in the weather, the factory kill at 28,000 per week, strong demand, UK and EU prices rising, factories increasing their kill days and a firmer tone to the mart trade, farmers are in a strong position to insist on a beef price increase, which reflects the true market returns.