Beef protest in Tullamore had desired effect – Healy

Last week’s beef farmer protest outside Aldi in Tullamore has had its desired effect, according to IFA President Joe Healy.

Farmer prices have not fallen since the event took place, he said.

“The reality is that cattle numbers will remain reasonably scarce this autumn, with the weekly kill averaging 30,000 head. This factor alone should act to ensure that prices remain firm.”

Speaking to Agriland at this year’s National Ploughing Championships, Healy said that UK beef prices continue to strengthen with farmer quotes of €4.40/kg now available in that market.

“Almost half our beef is exported to the UK and Irish factories are having no problem in securing markets for all the product they sell at the present time.”

So there is considerable scope for the plants to offer Irish beef finishers a better price for their cattle.

Healy said that beef finishers need a price of €4/kg now, just to break even.

“This figure will rise to €4.40 when cattle come out of the sheds next spring. Beef finishers have endured a deep income crisis over recent months had this matter will only be resolved, once farmers get their fair share of what the market place if offering.

“The Department of Agriculture can also play its part in mitigating the cash flow crisis on Irish farms. ANC payments must be paid out immediately and all farmers must receive their Single Payments next month.

“Last year there was a delay in making this happen because of IT problems. This will not be tolerated in 2016.”

Healy is calling for the introduction of legislation, which will ensure that farmers receive their fair share of what consumers are actually paying at retail level.

“The European Commission must act to address this issue as a matter of priority and there is also an onus on the Irish government to act accordingly in this regard.”

Turning to the implementation of the EU exceptional aid measures, Healy said that the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed should commit to the national top-up that is provided for under the scheme, as a matter of priority.

“And I see no reason why he cannot make the announcement during his visit to the Ploughing this week.”