‘Beef price cuts in meat factories must stop’

IFA (Irish Farmers’ Association) President Joe Healy said beef price cuts at the meat factories must stop as they are squeezing out any chance of profit for farmers grazing cattle this year.

He said €90 per head had been taken off cattle prices over the last few weeks and this is costing farmers more than €2 million per week.

The president warned the factories that they need to act responsibility – as the price cuts are very damaging and diminishing confidence at farm level.

He highlighted that average beef farm incomes were just €16,853 in 2016, including direct payments.

Healy said the factory price cuts are not justified based on market returns, adding that cattle prices in the main Irish market in the UK are equivalent to €4.42/kg.

As well as this, he said, there is no beef in stock; EU and international markets are stronger than last year and hide and offal returns are also higher.

Last year, there was a serious overhang of beef from the cull in the EU dairy sector, which is not the case this year, he noted.

Cattle numbers will be tighter than originally forecast due to the higher kill earlier this year, increased live exports and lower carcass weights, according to the IFA.