THE new Munster vice president of the Irish Farmers Association Chris Hayes has called on all meat factories in the province to immediately increase beef prices paid to farmers for their livestock.
Mr Hayes said based on market returns there is no reason why factories could not increase prices by a minimum of 20c/kg.
Cattle prices across all grades are down by €50 to €150 per head on this time last year. Britain, which is Ireland’s main export market is €2.82/kg or the equivalent to €3.39/kg.
The price gap between British and Irish prices has increased from €32 to €150 per head. Cattle prices across the European Union are ranging from €3.30 to €3.65/kg.
“There is no way that meat factories in this country can justify the poor prices being paid for cattle. Beef production is just not sustainable at current prices,” he said.
Welcoming a significant increase in live exports, which are up 50% already this year, he said this will leave fewer cattle available to the factories to depress cattle prices in the future.
Mr Hayes said there is a 27% increase in cull cow slaughtering since January 1. This has significantly reduced the suckler herd and is all due to low profit margins in beef production.
Meanwhile, Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association beef committee chairman Peter Fox urged farmers to avail of every possible outlet when selling cattle.
He said they should get quotes from at least three different factories and also be aware that there are opportunities to sell finished beef cattle in Northern Ireland at very competitive prices.
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