ICMSA president Pat McCormack: holds out hope for beef producers
The cattle number situation in the second half of 2020 is certainly grounds for optimism for beef producers based on the presentation by An Bord Bia to the latest meeting of the Beef Task Force, according to IMCSA president Pat McCormack.
He said that Bord Bia confirmed that as of last May 1, the number of male cattle over 12 months of age was 68,000 less than May 1, 2019 .
In the case of beef female cattle, it was 25,000 less.
In total, this is 93,000 less cattle over 12 months of age for the rest of this year, said Mr McCormack.
“Cattle supplies should be tighter than 2019 providing a level of advantage for the primary producer. In addition, while beef demand has taken a hit due to Covid-19, with restrictions being relaxed across the EU, there is certainly optimism that demand levels will recover over the rest of the year providing a reasonable market outlook for beef that has to be translated into better prices for farmers,” said Mr McCormack.
The Tipperary Town farm leader said that , in addition, there appeared to be opportunities for live exports over the remainder of the year and resources will have to be allocated to support this hugely important element of competition.
“In the short term, it is quite clear that beef prices have moved forward in our main UK market, and our prices must follow suit immediately,” he said.
In relation to the PGI proposal, Mr. McCormack said that it was confirmed at last Thursday’s Beef Taskforce that no additional requirements will be placed on farmers in relation to this application.
“The Irish beef sector has the opportunity to get PGI status on over 70% of the beef we produce based on the fact that it is a grass-based unique product. ICMSA’s opinion is that, as a sector, we would be very foolish not to grasp this opportunity given that it also provides a greater level of protection under trade agreements,” he asid.
Mr McCormack said that a potential Mercusor agreement would have to be factored in for down the line and every opportunity to protect primary beef producers had to be looked at.
“In addition, while nobody can give any guarantees, an increased market price should flow back from some markets, and, given where prices are now, we really have to look at every way of improving farmer beef prices,” said Mr McCormack