The beef forum needs to convene immediately to address “the shocking price differential between Irish and UK beef”, according to Edmond Phelan of the ICSA.

The ICSA Beef Chairman also said it needs to convene due to the fact that there’s been no movement on the 30-month issue.

“The beef forum must convene; substantive issues remain for beef farmers which have to be urgently addressed.

“Progress has been too slow and farmers continue to struggle,” Phelan said.

The ICSA Beef Chairman said that while exports to the US have been going well, there is no real sign of a benefit to farmers, while the issue of reviewing the grid has been put on the long finger.

Factories are again threatening to crucify farmers on weights, Phelan said.

“The impression is that Minister Coveney has lost his enthusiasm for the beef forum but beef farmers need to see their issues being resolved.

“There is no sense of partnership between factories and producers and profits are a one-sided affair,” he said.

Acceleration in Irish beef exports to the US

As of last week, beef exports from Irish plants to the United States in 2015 totalled 1,300t. This trade has an estimated value of €8.5m.

According to the Department of Agriculture, this is an exceptionally encouraging development, given that the first exports only went in March of this year and some of the factories were only approved for export as recently as September.

The Department also points out a strong acceleration in exports has taken place since June. These developments reflect the significant potential that the US market has to offer the Irish beef sector.

There are currently six plants listed for export of beef. These are:

  • Foyle Meats Donegal
  • Slaney Foods International
  • Dawn Charleville
  • ABP Clones
  • Kepak Kilbeggan
  • Kepak Longford

According to Bord Bia the main reason for the recent increase in beef exports to the US is the fact that additional plants have become certified to trade in that market. Another reason for the recent improvement in the trade has been a time-lag on business coming through.

Bord Bia says companies only really started working the market once they got approval to export earlier in the year.