Speaking after his official election as leader of the Irish Farmers Association’s (IFA) Eddie Downey confirmed that there is a boat on the way to export a proportion of young bull’s out of Ireland.

“The action of factories is sending a very clear message. Two years ago they were out there running around the country encouraging farmers to hold those Friesian bull calves,” he said in a press briefing.

“We will get a market for them. They talked farmers into this business and when the animals were ready two years down the road they pulled the price. That’s unacceptable. When they promote something like that, they have to stand by the people that invested in it.

“We are going to export those calves this year. They’re going.”

The new IFA president is encouraging farmers across Ireland not to keep their young bulls. “Why should we when an industry fails to look after its primary producers. It’s Irish jobs on Irish farms rearing these calves. It’s Irish jobs transporting the calves to the factory and it’s Irish jobs processing them…There is a boat on the way to take some of these bulls out of the system at the moment.”

There has been significant farmer anger over the past month due to a sharp fall in factory prices for young bulls.

Statistics released by the Department of Agriculture this afternoon confirm young bull prices have continued their slide into the New Year. The price decline has been particularly evident in poorer grading cattle or dairy bred calves.

The statistics show that cattle grading O3 were €0.35/kg lower last week than the previous week. Cattle grading P3 were down €0.16/kg over the same period.

Many farmer organisations have pointed to higher prices in UK and Northern Ireland for equivalent animals. Prices across the board in the UK and NI are significantly higher as outlined below.

The table below shows the latest prices for select grades in Ireland, the UK and Northern Ireland.

Deadweight Cattle Prices €/kg 6th – 4th January 2014
Grade Ireland Northern Ireland UK Central Scotland
U3 396 401 442 486
R3 385 394 437 468
O3 353 375 415 437
P3 338 357 403 412

Data sources: Department of Agriculture, LMCNI, EBLEX