IFA warns factories and retailers of farmer anger over beef price cuts

IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said the negative tactics of the factories this week on cattle prices are seriously eroding confidence and trust with farmers.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said the negative tactics of the factories this week on cattle prices are seriously eroding confidence and trust with farmers.

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He said the factories’ drive to cut prices and grab extra profit against improving market returns and low kills of just over 30,000 head were scaring the daylights out of finishers away from feeding cattle this winter as well as undermining important issues like quality assurance.

Henry Burns said at a time when Bord Bia are reporting UK cattle prices at €4.65/kg+ and prices on the main European market at €4.10/4.30/kg+ and rising, the factories have no justification for their price cuts. He said “this week’s attack on cattle prices is a clear case of profiteering by the factories and inflicting further losses on summer grazers, after one of the most difficult seasons on record”.

He called on the factories and the retailers to reflect prices in the marketplace to restore confidence. The IFA Livestock leader warned the factories over their price cutting tactics and said IFA has been in contact with some of the major customers of Irish beef including Tesco, McDonalds and SuperValu highlighting the farmer frustration and anger with the factories. He said these buyers cannot exonerate themselves and must move to ensure that farmers are paid a return in line with current prices.

Henry Burns said a large number of feeders had spoken to IFA at the Ploughing and expressed the strong view that they could not feed cattle this winter with this type of carry-on from the factories and without a strong price contract. “Factories are scaring finishers away from feeding this winter. Committed finishers are saying, if the factories are savaging the price when the kill is only 30,000 head and EU/UK prices are €200/300 per head above Irish prices, what will they do next spring?”

The IFA livestock leader said despite lower quotes this week, factories are paying €3.85/kg base to get steers and €3.95/kg for heifers. “Despite the propaganda from the factories, finished cattle numbers remain tight. The factories stand accused of totally misleading their farmer suppliers on numbers.”