‘Minister needs to intervene on beef prices’

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed can no longer ignore the major cuts in cattle prices at the meat factories – that have left beef farmers facing losses this year, according to IFA (Irish Farmers’ Association) President Joe Healy.

Cattle prices have been cut by more than €100 per head in the last month, Healy said, eroding any chance of profit for farmers selling cattle over the peak autumn months.

The president noted that Minister Creed and the Department of Agriculture have worked hard and made considerable progress on market access issues and he cannot allow the factories to undermine the value of this work with unjustified beef price cuts.

Healy said the minister has to insist that there is competition in the trade, and market returns are fairly passed back to farmers. As well as this, he must ensure that market access delivers real price gains and stability to farmers.

The president said market demand for beef remains strong.

He said cattle prices in our main export market in the UK are the equivalent of €4.42/kg including VAT, as reported by the ADHB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) – and price increases in the UK market have outpaced the changes to the sterling exchange rate over the last two months.

Healy said EU cattle prices are showing signs of improving – which would be expected at this time of year as the schools prepare to return.

Concluding, the IFA president said there is no overhang of stock this year, as was the case from the EU dairy cow cull this time last year, and the demand for manufacturing beef is very buoyant.