‘Factories have more to give’ on price – ICSA

Beef farmers are being called on to “demand more from factories” with tightening cattle numbers at the present time.

Edmund Graham, the beef chairperson of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), said that processors still “have more to give” despite the slight increase in cattle prices this week.

“The pressure is on the factories at the minute; markets are opening up and agents are competing for cattle,” Graham highlighted.

Reports are coming in that €3.70/kg is increasingly attainable for certain types of stock and with numbers still tight, the scope is there for farmers to look for that bit more on price.

“We believe there is significantly more available,” he added.

Graham also noted the recent small yet positive developments in the sector, particularly in relation to Covid-19.

“Demand at retail level continues to be up and McDonalds and other restaurant chains are coming back into play,” he noted.

We also understand that, with some beef exports from Australia to China suspended temporarily, factories here are on the lookout for Chinese-spec cattle to fill any possible void.

“These factors coupled with the squeeze on numbers gives us a fighting chance at a decent price, but we’ll still have to fight for it,” the ICSA beef chairperson concluded.

Meat plants and Covid-19

In other news related to meat processors, the issue of Covid-19 clusters at meat plants is becoming increasingly concerning.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Thursday, May 14, the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that production in meat plants should be halted for a deep clean while waiting for the Covid-19 test results of employees.

“The situation with meat plants is gravely serious and it is not obvious that these clusters are being dealt with comprehensively,” Martin stressed.

“Without calling for the shutting down of the sector, it seems very surprising that the blanket testing of a facility is followed by no interruption of work until the results are returned,” the Fianna Fáil leader argued.