The Beef Forum is a month behind schedule, according to the ICSA.

The organisation’s General Secretary Eddie Punch said the meeting was supposed to happen last month.

“It’s in the gift of Minister Coveney to call the various stakeholders together. But so far, we have heard nothing, which is more than suspicious.”

Punch believes the minister has put the next meeting of the Beef Forum on the long finger because no progress has been made on any of the key issues discussed at the last get together involving all the interested parties.

“Nothing at all has been forthcoming regarding the issue of the beef classification grid and the marketing of young bulls,” he said.

“These are matters that require further examination and debate. ICSA believes that the Beef Forum is the grouping best qualified to discuss these important matters.”

Punch also said that Irish beef prices should be much stronger at the present time.

“They have been in the region of €4.20/kg since the turn of the year. However, this same period has been marked by a significant strengthening of Sterling. This should have made Irish beef much more competitive on the UK market.

“The reality is that 50% of our beef output is exported to Britain.”

Punch also points to Irish cattle numbers being well down on 2014 levels.

“The weekly throughput at the plants is now well below the 30,000 head threshold,” he said.

“And, if anything, relative throughput levels at the plants will continue to tighten for the rest of the year. Taking this factor in combination with the recent currency movements should mean that Irish farmers are getting considerably more for their cattle.”