IFA President Eddie Downey has told Agriland that finished cattle prices are starting to strengthen and that this trend may well be sustained over the coming weeks and months.

“The autumn flush of cattle will not act to crash prices as the good weather is allowing farmers to market their stock in an orderly fashion. But one swallow does not make a summer and the prospect of decent returns during the period ahead will not erode the deep feeling of mistrust that has built up in farmers’ minds, where the factories are concerned, over the past year,” he said at the National Ploughing Championships.

The IFA President went on to stress the absolute importance for the Beef Forum to deliver on behalf of Irish livestock farmers.

“And, in this context, the Minister must be more than an honest broker,” he said.

“It will be Simon Coveney’s job to ensure that any decisions reached by the Forum are implemented fully by all the parties involved, particularly the factories. The lessons learnt from the crisis of the last few months must be used in a proactive manner to ensure that farmers are never again left so totally exposed to the whims of the retailers and the processors.”

Commenting on the significance of the Ploughing to the IFA, Eddie Downey said that the event represented the one occasion in the year when farmers from all over Ireland had the opportunity of meeting the organisation’s presidential team plus its top advisors and management.

“We are expecting the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture to call in with us during the event as well as politicians representing all of the political parties. The Ploughing is a unique networking opportunity, which the IFA can avail of fully.”