“The large multinational retailers are constantly thinking of new and creative ways to minimise the throughput of cattle and sheep through livestock markets,” said Mr Spellman, who also chairs the ICOS marts committee.
“They must compete in a fair manner in a livestock market, but can offer poorer prices to farmers if animals are sold privately,” he said.
Mr Spellman was addressing the association’s annual conference in Athlone, Co Westmeatrh.
Other speakers included European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, Bord Bia CEO Aidan Cotter and Kepak MD John Horgan.
Mr Hogan said new CAP regulations have sought to increase producer bargaining power by enhancing cooperation along the food chain.
“It is in the interests of all players in the food chain to realise and acknowledge the critical importance of producers getting a decent return for their product,” said Mr Hogan.