The ICSA has claimed that farmers “will need €5.00/kg to justify feeding cattle from mid-November onwards”.
In making the remark, its beef chair, Edmund Graham, called on farmers to “keep the pressure on factories”.
He commented on the rise of feed costs, saying: “Feed prices have been increasing across the board, which is piling on the pressure for winter finishers.”
He said factories are “continuing to use every trick in the book to keep prices down despite the scarcity of cattle and an overall increase in demand”.
“The reality is prices should be higher given how hard the processors are finding it to get stock.”
“However, what we are seeing is a concerted effort by processors to keep the base price down, even if that means doing deals on bonuses or haulage costs.”
Keep base price down ‘at all costs’
Graham believes that meat factories are determined to keep base prices down at all costs.
He said the farm group has received reports from members of bonus top-ups for Angus and Hereford, in particular. They have reported that processors will choose to pay €0.30c/kg and upwards of a bonus rather than increase the base price.
Similarly, he said members have reported that some plants are offering the cover the cost of haulage. He believes this move is again to “keep a lid on the base price”.
He believes it is important for farmers to be aware that this is occurring and “fight for every cent available”.
Graham said factory agents are also very active around mart rings.
“Because cows have become relatively dear in their eyes, many agents have shifted their attention to out of spec steers to fill their orders.”
“It is a reminder to always keep the mart in mind as an option – and especially so for out-of-spec animals,” he concluded.