Serious concerns have been expressed that the price of beef paid to farmers will plummet this autumn.
Prices have been static, at about €4 per kilo, in recent months, but they are set for a marked reduction, it is feared.
“I would be concerned about the price of beef in the next year,” Cllr. Laurence Fallon, a former senior IFA official, said. “There is going to be a significantly bigger kill of livestock this year than last year due to the numbers that were retained in previous years and not exported.
“Farmers are currently worried about the price of beef, but looking forward into the autumn, which is the critical time for a lot of farmers, there is great concern as to the price of beef.
“If you go on the past, when beef got scarce, it got dear and, when beef got plentiful, it fell.
“That is an issue that I would say would be of major concern to Co. Roscommon.”
Beef prices paid to farmers have always been volatile.
The problem, Cllr. Fallon said, would be partly rectified if farmers knew for certain what price they could expect to receive for their produce.
“What is happening with beef and sheep is that processors and supermarkets will pay whatever they could get beef at, irrespective of whether it is making a profit or not,” he said.
“There is absolutely no long-term planning in it.
“You should be able to agree with a processor that, if you produce x quality and x numbers of animals, you would expect to get a price.
“Until that happens, it is going to be very difficult to have a long-term viable beef industry.”