IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said with the beef price in our main export market in the UK at €5.00/kg, the actions of the meat plants in pulling cattle prices is totally unjustified. He said the facts are there is a massive shortage of beef in the UK and demand remains very strong.
Henry Burns said the latest Bord Bia report states that the UK trade remains unchanged as favourable weather conditions continues to help the trade and demand for steak cuts remains firm. On the Continent, Bord Bia reports that the beef trade remained firm across most markets and continues to be helped by on-going tight supplies across the different key export markets. Strong demand is evident for hindquarter product, with best trade for fillets and striploins.
Henry Burns said in the Food Harvest 2020 plan, factories claimed they wanted to increase beef production and they claimed they could easily sell 40,000 cattle per week. He said this week procurement managers and agents are telling farmers they are full up of cattle, although the kill is only 28,000 head. He said the reality is the factories are limiting the kill and backing up numbers in order to pull back prices.
The IFA Livestock leader said it is very clear from the lack of competition in the trade in the last two weeks, Minister Coveney needs to take immediate action on cattle prices and get more boats cleared for more live exports. He said, “Good progress has been made in reopening the Libyan market and we now need more boats and more exports. Another boat sailed last week to Libya with 1,500 bulls and up to 5,000 sheep”.
Henry Burns said IFA is working hard to increase the live trade to the UK and open up more competition in the beef trade. He said, “Ireland has the best beef and cattle trade in the world on our doorstep in the UK market and we need to maximise the full potential of this market which is currently paying over €5.00/kg for cattle”.