IFA livestock chairman, Brendan Golden, has strongly criticised factories for failing to “reflect the strength” of the market conditions for beef in current prices.
He said prices paid by plants are not closing the gap with the Prime Export Benchmark Price, which has increased by a further 4c to €3.87/kg.
The Prime Irish Price for the same period increased by 3c to €3.74/kg, leaving a gap of 13c/kg.
“Factories are dragging their heels in reflecting the true value of the market place. The 5c/kg weekly price increases are falling short of where the market is at.”
March 2021 beef price summary
He said factories are quoting a base beef price of €3.85 and €3.90/kg for steers and heifers this week.
In his view, these quotes are reflective of the demand for beef and the prices paid in Ireland’s key export markets.
Brendan believes the “baseline must move to €4.00/kg to reflect the current prices in the UK and EU markets”.
“Supermarket demand for beef will strengthen further for Easter. With supplies extremely tight factories must increase prices paid to farmers to bring them in line with the Bord Bia published Export Tracker price.”
He stressed that winter finishers are experiencing a continual increase in production costs, and beef prices must reflect this.
Golden believes part of the issue is the dominance of supermarkets in the market place and Ireland’s increased dependency due to the closures of the food-service sector, which must be called out.
Heavily discounted beef in supermarkets
Furthermore, he said offerings of beef at heavily discounted prices by supermarkets to drive footfall in stores undermine the value of our product and must be stopped.
IFA’s current campaign highlights the behaviour of major retailers and the impact this has on farm incomes.
He said the Minister for Agriculture must ensure the Food Regulator/Ombudsman’s office has the powers necessary to investigate all aspects of the supply chain. He said there must be robust primary legislation that protects farmers from the powers of large corporations involved in food processing and retail.