The meat factories said, after today’s beef summit, that they have delivered continuous price increases over the last number of years and significant export growth.

Speaking through their representative body Meat Industry Ireland (MII) after the beef summit, they said they welcomed the engagement and platform for discussion on a factual basis. They also said there is a positive future for the sector and that today’s beef summit should lead to improved market signalling and communications around market requirements and specifications.

In relation to cattle price comparisons with the UK, MII said that the industry highlighted that a more realistic barometer for Irish cattle price is a proper comparison with a grouping of the main beef producing member states in the EU. Meat Industry Ireland said that in terms of retail beef sales in the UK, only one kg in five is Irish.

“To ensure best returns from the marketplace, we must continue to focus on producing what the market requires and the recent MII communication on target market specification aims to provide producers with a clear guide to market requirements which will ultimately maximise producer returns.”

Beef margins, it says, depends on producer efficiency and market prices. “Margin is critical but this is a factor of both production efficiency and market prices. The new beef genomics scheme introduced by Minister Coveney is positive move in terms of financial support but also in technology adoption to improve overall performance.” The statement, which was issues, after today’s beef summit, said factories have played a role in terms of the Quality Payment System (QPS), In-spec bonus, specific beef breed schemes and a 40% increase in overall price over the last four years.

Meat Industry Ireland also said that the ongoing recession in the EU has severely impacted beef consumption which has fallen 500,000 tonnes (1kg per capita) in the last five years. “This, in conjunction with a significant overhang of pork in the EU market due to the Russian ban on EU exports, is the key factor in the recent weakening of market prices.”