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At a meeting between IFA and the lamb factories from Meat Industry Ireland (MII) in Dublin this week, IFA President Joe Healy said hogget finishers are extremely frustrated with the loss-making prices on offer from the meat plants, which are down 65c/kg or €15 per head on this time last year. He said in some instances, with weight cuts, the losses are as high as €20 per lamb.

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At a meeting with Meat Industry Ireland in Dublin today, the IFA President Joe Healy made it very clear to the lamb factories that they need to immediately stabilise lamb prices and increase carcase weights at this critically important time for the sheep sector.

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IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman John Lynskey said IFA will meet Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and the lamb processors this week on prices and the need to stabilise the market at this important time for the sector.

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IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns has said livestock farmers are digging in hard with the factories on cattle prices. He said farmers who are negotiating hard are getting a base price of €4.00/kg on steers and €4.10/kg on heifers. He said factories are quoting lower prices, but having to pay more to get stock.

Henry Burns said at a meeting with the factories late last week, IFA made it very clear livestock farmers cannot afford any more price reductions. An IFA delegation led by the President Eddie Downey met with Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and the main factory groups in Dublin last week.

Henry Burns said IFA told MII that livestock farmers were after encountering price cuts in the order of 30c/kg or €110 per head over the last six weeks and there is severe income pressure at farm level. He said based on a continuing tight supply of prime cattle and strong returns from our main export market in the UK, there is no reason why the market situation should not remain stable.

Henry Burns said there is a strong view in the trade that cattle numbers will continue to tighten. He said this is backed up by the numbers on the AIMS database, which shows that there are 100,000 fewer cattle in the 12 to 36 month age bracket available for slaughter, when compared with last year.

Henry Burns said IFA also made it clear to the factories that they will have to offer winter finishers price contracts, especially for next spring, as feeders are not prepared to take all the risk on long keep cattle. He said Teagasc has put forward the figures showing feeders need in excess of €4.50/kg on steers next spring.

The IFA Livestock leader said the beef trade in the UK, our major export market had also turned positive with the AHDB reporting the R3 steer price at £3.55/kg, which is the equivalent to €5.11/kg, incl of 5.2% vat. He said the AHDB have described ‘the balance of trade tipping into producer favour’ and factories in Britain working to ‘keep a longer pipeline filled’.

IFA National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey said the lamb trade is stronger this week with tighter supplies, increased demand for Bastille Day and the end of Ramadan in mid-July, and farmers refusing to take the lower factory quotes.

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