The IFA National Livestock Chair said beef prices have lagged behind the Bord Bia Prime Export Benchmark price by upwards of 30c/kg for the past number of weeks and this is not acceptable. He said factories can and must do more to return the value of the market to farmers in higher beef prices.
Brendan Golden said the projected increase in the kill for the year has already come through the system with over 120,000 more cattle processed to-date and numbers are expected to drop in line with last year’s throughput or below for the remainder of the year.
Last week’s throughput showed a drop of 1500 head in steer numbers alone and these are the prime cattle factories need to fill the supermarket orders for the Christmas market. The IFA National Livestock Chair said very few grass cattle are now left on the ground and factories will have to come forward with strong and meaningful beef price increases to entice farmers to short finish cattle in sheds and have them available over the coming weeks to fill Christmas orders.
He noted that deals are already being done as cracks appear in the stranglehold factories have had on prices over the past few weeks and it is important farmers sell hard to take back control of the market conditions.
Brendan said there is up to 20c/kg of a difference in quotes and prices paid to farmers with very few farmers now accepting the lower quotes offered by some factories; and added that factories and retailers are acutely aware of the production costs beef farmers are exposed to for this winter and beef prices of €5.85/6.00/kg must be the target.