IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods has accused the cattle factories of “crippling” cattle farmers financially with “their obsession to cut beef prices and swell their own pockets”.
He said the latest drive by the meat plants to cut prices below a base price of €3.80/kg will do serious financial damage at farm level. He said that cattle prices in Ireland’s main export market in the UK had increased by 4p/kg per week for the last three weeks and he contrasted this with prices cuts from the Irish factories.
Mr. Woods said the “factory pull on beef prices is inflicting massive damage on the weanling and store cattle trade in the marts across the country and undermining the suckler cow herd”. He added that trade is already under severe pressure from the drought and fodder situation but “the factory price cuts had ripped confidence out of the trade”.
The IFA National Livestock leader said this year “farmers have had to endure an extremely long and severe winter/spring period with massive meal bills”. On top of this, he said, the drought involved farmers having to feed meals on grass at very significant additional expense and all of these bills are still there to be paid.
Mr. Woods added: “Prices in the UK have increased every week from early August, rising from £3.63/kg to £3.76/kg, a price increase equivalent to 15c/kg. At the same time Irish factories have cut the prices.
“This makes no market sense and farmers are at a total loss over the silence of Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and the Government on the issue. It’s like they don’t care about the €3 billion livestock sector and the 100,000 farmers involved”.