IFA national livestock chairman Henry Burns is urging farmers to resist attempts by meat factories to erode confidence in the beef trade by threatening price and weight cuts.
Mr Burns has called on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to stand up to the factories and insist that they operate the quality pricing system properly without any weight cuts.
“Across the weekend, agents are cold calling on farmers looking for cattle and offering a base of €3.95/kg for steers and €4.05/kg for heifers,” said Mr Burns, who also criticised industry commentators who have talked down the beef trade.
“The reality is 50,000 to 70,000 additional cattle have been forecast.
“These extra numbers are exaggerated as carcase weights will revert to 2014 levels or 5kg less than 2015 levels, which amounts to a reduction equivalent to 20,000 head.
"And supplies this spring and summer will be tighter than 2015, with any increase only coming in the last quarter.”
He said the live export trade to Libya or Egypt is likely to resume and this will also reduce numbers.
The IFA has called on the minister to be more proactive on live exports to tackle the lack of competition in the beef trade.
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