Irish beef output can increase by €500m – Meat Industry

Irish beef output can increase by 80,000t per annum under Food Wise 2025, according to Meat Industry Ireland (the body representing beef factories).

According to Cormac Healy, Director of MII, this increase in volume can deliver up to an additional €500m in additional export earnings for the sector.

“This will deliver additional employment throughout rural Ireland and can also boost producer margins and processor efficiency.

“This growth in output has already started, with an additional 60,000 head forecast to be processed this year and a further increase of 100,000 head in 2017.

“This already equates to an increase of approximately 50,000 tonnes in output by 2017 compared with 2015.

Healy added that despite the intense focus on finished cattle price, the market has in fact delivered higher returns to producers over the past decade.

“Finished cattle price has increased by over 40% in that period. While there has been variation from year-to-year, the overall trend has been positive.

Looked at a different way, the average finished cattle price over the last five years was 30% higher than the average price paid in the previous five years.

“Significant investment has taken place too, in modern, efficient processing facilities that operate to world-class standards and in marketing resources to build a strong customer portfolio for Irish beef across European and international markets,” he said.

Healy’s comments follow the publication of MII’s Beef Policy document, Irish Beef Sector – Delivering Growth, which sets out the industry’s views on growth and ambition in the context of Food Wise 2025.

Commenting on the publication, Healy said action is required to ensure that the above mentioned growth occurs.

“While there are always challenges and shorter term market factors including the current uncertainties around Brexit, MII firmly believes that the medium to longer term outlook is positive for beef demand and market opportunities do exist for increased Irish beef output,” he said.

Key recommendations:
  • A comprehensive and immediate response by Government and State Agencies to both the short-term and longer term fallout from Brexit
  • Continued investment in improving efficiency, productivity and ultimately profitability in the beef enterprise at farm level
  • A commitment on more resources to drive the international market access agenda for Irish beef
  • Continued emphasis on improving the positive sustainability credentials for Irish beef
  • An unrelenting focus on cost of doing business in Ireland to underpin the competitiveness of the processing industry operating in a challenging global marketplace 

The MII representative also said that the suckler cow herd will remain the corner stone of production, while increases in beef output derived for the growing dairy herd will also play an important role in delivering the overall growth ambition of Food Wise 2025.