Meat factories cutting price in one of the worst ever years for beef producers

‘Beyond belief meat industry would seek to increase profits on the backs of farmers.’

‘Time for…fight back.

‘Meat industry cannot be allowed to drive farmers out of business.’

Sligo News File.

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association has protested outside ABP over what they have denounced as “an orchestrated effort” by meat factories to drive down prices being paid to beef farmers.

“Farmers in the beef sector have been crucified by beef price cuts in a year when they have substantial extra costs due to extreme weather,” said the chairman of the association’s national beef committee chairman Edmund Graham.

He said: “It is beyond belief that in a year like this when farmers are on their knees with extra cost arising from a fodder crisis that the meat industry would seek to increase profits on the back of farmers.

Orchestrated effort to drive down price

Referring to what he described as “an orchestrated effort to drive down price at a rate of 5c/kg/week,”, he said “the current price of €3.70/kg is totally inadequate when costs

of production are at least €4.40/kg for cattle from the dairy herd. Meanwhile, the suckler herd is not profitable unless price is closer to €5/kg.”

Declaring it was time for farmers to fight back, he said: “We cannot go on working for nothing and risking substantial capital finishing cattle especially as we enter the expensive winter finishing period.”

He also hit out at the failure of new international markets to deliver strong prices for the farming sector. “Compared to five years ago we have seen the opening of markets in the USA, China, South East Asia and this week Kuwait. Yet there has been no benefit to farmers and prices today are weaker than five years ago.

“Meat factories and retailers love to talk about sustainable systems of beef production. ICSA believes that unless cattle farmer incomes are economically sustainable, all the rest is just pie in the sky.

Meat factories using their own feedlots to manipulate price

“The meat industry cannot be allowed drive farmers out of business. ICSA believes it is an unacceptable element of the sector that meat factories are using their own feedlots to manipulate price. The price cutting is also a way of subduing store cattle price with a view to getting cheaper cattle for their own feedlots.

“ICSA is sending out a strong message that farmers cannot stand idly by as their livelihoods are being decimated.

“Further action cannot be ruled out,” he warned.