IFA National Livestock Chairman, Henry Burns, said there is growing anger among cattle farmers over the way some factories have started to manipulate cattle price cuts on weight and age, contrary to the clear agreement under the Quality Payment System (QPS).
He said: “Some meat plants are dual pricing on weight and age and this is in direct contravention to what was agreed in the QPS and at the Beef Forum chaired by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.”
The Chairman confirmed that a Beef Forum meeting is scheduled for December 16th. He said “the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must intervene immediately and stop the unfair price cuts factories are attempting to impose on farmers. He added, “Minister Coveney has to show that he is prepared to roll up the sleeves and deal with the real issues between farmers and factories.”
On cattle prices, the IFA Livestock leader said, “Based on returns in our main export market in the UK where cattle prices are the equivalent of €5.25/kg including VAT, it is clear that there is major potential for Irish prices to rise from the current loss-making levels for winter finishers. The price gap of €1.28/kg that the Irish factories have opened up between Irish and UK cattle prices is unsustainable and points to a real lack of price competition.”
Mr. Burns also said that cattle finishers need a beef price increase to take them out of the current loss-making position selling finished cattle out of sheds, where production costs are significantly higher.
He continued by saying “The IFA is strongly opposed to the imposition of carcase weight limits, which will have a very negative impact on the Irish beef sector and especially the suckler cow herd and quality cattle.”
He added, “This will also undermine the QPS.” He finished by stating that the average carcase weights in Ireland are below those in the UK, Italy, France and Germany.