There is no logical reason for factories to slash beef quotes to the €3.70/kg mark this week, according to ICSA beef chair, Edmund Graham.
He believes farmers are entitled to an explanation and factories must be held to account. “Again, we are seeing factories moving in unison to cut prices, and in many cases, cut back to a three-day week.”
“Demand for beef remains high and sterling rates are favourable, yet many farmers are reporting difficulties booking cattle in for slaughter and those that do get slots are being hammered on price.”
“It makes no sense, and again, we are seeing winter finishers bearing the brunt. They are being left to shoulder the full cost of feeding cattle over the winter which is completely unsustainable and cannot be allowed to continue.”
He said if the promised Food Ombudsman is to “do what the CCPC cannot”, it is critical they are given the necessary powers to do so, with whatever legislation is necessary.
“It is clear the factories are continuing to run rings around the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) which has proven itself to be completely ineffective in dealing with the beef industry.”
Concluding Graham said farmers will not stand for a food ombudsman that “cannot take on the processors and regulate the whole beef sector”.
Factories slash quotes
Meanwhile, this frustration has been echoed by Brendan Golden, IFA national livestock chairman.
In a statement earlier this morning (Monday, February 8th), he said attempts by beef factories to talk down the trade are not justified based on the latest market reports.
He highlighted that the Prime Export Benchmark price for the latest week has increased by 5c/kg. The Irish price is not keeping pace, only increasing by 2c/kg over the same period.
Golden said the supermarket price for beef in the UK has strengthened in the past week and sales remain strong.
“The current Prime Export Benchmark price of €3.76/kg, which is based on prices in our key markets, highlights the dysfunction of the EU policy when it comes to beef farmers, an approach that must be stopped. This price is up to 80c/kg below production costs for Irish beef farmers.”