Meat Industry Ireland says there are 'green shoots' in the beef market

Meat Industry Ireland says there are “green shoots” in the beef market, and these should hopefully feed through in terms of positive price developments soon.

Meat Industry Ireland says there are 'green shoots' in the beef market

Meat Industry Ireland says there are “green shoots” in the beef market, and these should hopefully feed through in terms of positive price developments soon.

The processors’ representative body said while there are some more positive developments in markets, it is taking time for this to feed through in Irish sales values.

An MII spokesperson was speaking after Tuesday’s first meeting of the beef taskforce established as part of the beef sector agreement in September, with the remit to monitor implementation of actions in the agreement.

Taskforce chairman Michael Dowling noted that all participants re-affirmed their commitment to bring any future disputes, in the first instance, to the taskforce.

IFA president Joe Healy said the taskForce accepted there is a significant gap between Irish prices and those in our export markets, and said the taskForce agreed to an IFA request that the Department of Agriculture will analyse the impact of weight and age restrictions on the new In-spec bonuses.

IFA said the bonuses were implemented, but were not reflected in a price increase, because of the restrictions.

ICMSA president Pat McCormack welcomed the recently launched Bord Bia Beef Price Tracker and said it clearly shows that the markets for Irish beef have improved, which justifies improvement in the Irish beef price for farmers. He said processors must immediately increase the price paid to farmers.

ICSA president Edmond Phelan said momentum is shifting towards a beef price increase after the taskforce meeting.

“Farmers who are not under pressure because of age limits should be holding out for a price rise,” he said.

“Bord Bia’s Beef Price index clearly shows UK and EU prices are on an upward curve, whereas our prices have flatlined at best.”

After the meeting, the Department of Agriculture said it understands that the agreed bonuses have been put in place by the industry.

Award of tenders before the New Year is expected in commissioning of an independent review of market and customer requirements, specifically in relation to the four in-spec bonus criteria, and an independent examination of the price composition of the total value of the animal, including the fifth quarter. “The results will inform future actions as necessary,” said a department spokesperson.

The beef industry will co-operate in providing data for these initiatives to improve beef supply chain information. A summary of competition law for the beef sector will also be prepared.

Bord Bia’s beef market price index based on a cattle price index, beef market price index (retail and wholesale), and an offal price indicator, has been available on the Bord Bia website since November 18.

An independent auditor will be contracted to review the methodology and make further recommendations.

A department spokesperson said Teagasc is significantly advanced in the first stage of a desktop analysis of the Quality Payment Grid (QPS), which will take into account movements in base prices since the QPS was introduced in 2009.

The department is engaging with several potential beef producer organisations, and providing guidance on the application process.

The first two beef POs were approved in September and October.

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