IFA has accused the factories of imposing serious damage on livestock farmers because of what it describes as “unjustified price cuts” by them.
The organisation’s National Livestock Chairman, Henry Burns stated that the meat factories had threatened the income of livestock farmers with their unjustified price cutting tactics over the last four weeks.
“At a time when cattle supplies are tight and prices in our main export market in the UK are very solid at close to €5/kg, the price cutting tactics of the Irish factories cannot be justified,” fumed Mr Burns. “The factories have pulled prices by 30c/kg or €110 per in the last few weeks. With regard to the national kill of €1.5m worth of cattle, this magnitude of price cut would amount to €165m out of farmers’ pockets in a full year.”
The IFA Livestock Chairman said there was rising anger among beef farmers because of the way in which the factories were treating them on price. “Factory representatives are threatening farmers that if they don’t take the lower quoted prices they will pull prices further in the next few weeks,” he added. “Farmers are very angry with this type of exploitation from factories, especially after one of the most difficult fodder crisis in living memory. After last winter and spring, farmers have massive bills to pay for feed and fodder and they desperately need a period of stable and profitable cattle prices in line with the returns from our key premium market in the UK.”
Mr Burns went on to point to “stymied competition” in the beef price by factories and said it indicated the urgent need for more live exports in the beef sector. He then called on Minister Simon Coveney to “get more boats and more live exports flowing to international markets”. “Immediate action with regard to opening up the live export trade to the UK and instilling some real competition into the livestock sector is needed,” Mr Burns concluded.