Farmers urged to ‘insist on €4.00/kg minimum’ for beef

Farmers “should stand firm and insist on a minimum of at least €4.00/kg in light of soaring retail demand for beef and the easing of Brexit uncertainty”, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Commenting on the matter, ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham said: “While €4.00/kg still does not cover the cost of production, it is the absolute minimum required to work towards a viable price.

Continuing, Graham claimed: “There is no justification for the continued price differential between Irish and UK prices.

The difference, which stands at around €150/head, is a real kick in the teeth for Irish producers and increasing prices to at least the €4.00 mark is the only thing that will eliminate that differential.

The chairman quoted Teagasc figures as illustrating that farmers “need at least €4.50/kg to cover the cost of production – and that is just to break even”.

“It’s just not good enough when increased demand for beef at retail level does not filter down to benefit primary producers in any meaningful way.”

Continuing, Graham said: “We have seen that most food service outlets have been well able to respond to the demand for delivery and take away options, plus we have seen the growth in retail demand.

It all adds up to processors running out of excuses for failing to lift prices significantly.

“They can’t blame lockdowns and they can’t blame Brexit, so the time has come for farmers not to accept those arguments and to demand a decent price,” the chairman concluded.