Factory age limits on cattle are ‘back with a bang’ 

Factory age limits of cattle are “back with a bang” and farmers are being cut 20c/kg for cattle marginally overweight, the President of the ICSA Patrick Kent has said.

This is an impact of cattle being too plentiful, he told the Association’s AGM in Portlaoise.

“We are getting lots of reports of farmers being cut 20c/kg for cattle marginally overage and overweight. Weight limits as low as 400kg are being implemented. These weights are totally unworkable in the continental bred sucklers and they take away any chance of the beef finisher making a margin.”

Kents comments come following the last meeting of the Beef Forum the representatives of the meat factories, Meat Industry Ireland, reminded farmers that the moratorium that had been in place for 14 months regarding heavy cattle will come to an end in 2015.

Meanwhile, Kent told the Association’s AGM in Portlaoise that there must be a clear focus on producing only what there are viable markets for.

While welcoming the opening up of new markets to Irish beef, he questioned how much it would add to farmers’ pockets.

“We recognise the effort put into the US, Chain and Africa. However, the real question is how much extra money will these put in the farmers’ pockets?”

The ICSA, he said, opposes any return to coupled payments and says proposals for a €20/ewe payment ignores basic economics.

“The sheep trade has been more positive in recent years due to scarcity. The last thing we need is increased sheep numbers in France, UK and Ireland.”

Kent also said it was failure to rein in the processors at the Beef Forum which now means that “ridiculous weight limits as low as 400kg and the old chestnut of the 30 months is being used to further prevent farmers getting a fair share of the profit.”

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