IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns accused the meat factories of eroding confidence among beef finishers and stymieing any bit of competition in the beef price. He said that there is real anger building on the ground over the beef price and the way feeders see factories changing the specification to snooker the price. He said the most recent tactics of the factories on dual pricing, weight limits and age limits to undermine the beef price is totally unacceptable.
Henry Burns said warned the factories and their retail supermarket and food service clients that they could not completely ignore the concerns of famers and feeders, and chop and change the specification just to suit themselves.
This it is extremely frustrating and angering feeders, particularly when they have cattle in the sheds feeding. He said feeders are at a loss to work out what they have to do for the factories to feed cattle and make a profit.
Henry Burns said the latest story from the factories is that they are now telling dairy farmers and feeders with Friesian bulls that they don’t want to buy them. He said two years ago, when numbers were very tight and live exports were strong, the factories pleaded with and promised farmers positive returns to keep Friesian bulls. They are now turning their backs on these feeders. Henry Burns said it is clear these animals would have been live exported as calves were it not for the promises and propaganda from the factories.
The IFA Livestock Leader said with such a large price gap between Irish prices and those in our main export market in the UK, there is little or no basis for any price pressure at the moment.
Henry Burns said UK farmers are also anger with the Irish processors for what they see as the under selling of Irish beef in the UK market.
The IFA Livestock leader said despite lots of negative propaganda from the factories, the prices of both steers and heifers remain stable at a base price of €4.00/kg for steers and €4.10/4.15 for heifers. He said feeders who have a mix of stock are negotiating up to €4.10 for U grade bulls.