Farmers have been advised to resist possible cuts in base prices for cattle by ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan.

According to Phelan while cattle supplies have been very strong for the first two months of this year, it is inevitable that supplies will tighten in the very near future.

“Farmers who sell softly are certainly likely to regret it,” he said.

Phelan said he has received reports of beef farmers being offered a base price of €4.10/kg for steers for next week, a cut of 5c on what they got this week.

“This is completely unacceptable at a time of year when prices need to be improving to keep beef finishers in business,” he said.

Furthermore, Phelan said the cuts are also a further example of meat industry contempt for the beef roundtable agreement.

“Factories are clearly continuing to take every opportunity to cut prices without any justification other than to boost their own coffers,” he said.

“With the recent opening of the American market, and contracts having been signed for the supply of Irish beef to the US, farmers are rightly expecting to see price increases, not cuts,” Phelan said.

In addition, he said the current seven-year low of the euro against sterling (€1 = 0.7385 GBP) should further bolster the existing export market.