Tipperary farming: meat plants 'must reflect reality' on prices

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Tipperary farming: meat plants 'must reflect reality' on prices

Tipperary farming: meat plants 'must reflect reality' on prices

With beef prices in the UK for steers and heifers in excess of 410c/kg and with cow prices in the UK at a six-year high, Irish beef prices are not keeping track with market developments, according to ICMSA livestock chairman Des Morrisson.

He said that Irish meat plants will simply have to increase beef prices to reflect the current market reality.

Mr Morrison said that, according to Teagasc, the break even price for beef production is 4.17cent per kg and current beef prices in Ireland were significantly below that level.

“When the market is poor, the meat plants are very quick to point to the problems in the marketplace, but their silence on this front currently only highlights the fact that markets are performing strongly and generating better returns. The meat plants just cannot expect beef farmers to continue to produce quality beef at unsustainable prices”, said Mr Morrison.

The chairman said that livestock numbers were tight and were expected to remain tight for the remainder of 2020.

With beef markets performing strongly, there were simply no excuses for beef prices to remain in the doldrums, he said.

“Price to farmers needs to go up immediately and the fact that cows prices in the UK, our major market, are at a six-year high shows the kind of price rise that merited and required as a matter of urgency”, said Mr Morrison.

Meanwhile, IFA national livestock chairman Brendan Golden said the flow of finished cattle had tightened dramatically with factories and agents chasing hard to get stock.

They were offering up to 10c/kg over quoted prices to secure deals.

He said top base prices of €3.80/kg was being paid lift in-spec stock. The range on the base price was €3.70/3.75 on steers and €3.70/3.80/kg on heifers.

“With an abundance of grass, excellent thrive and rising prices, farmers are back in control, demanding higher prices and in no rush to sell. Based on the major increase in price returns from our main export market (the UK), there is room for factories to increase prices a lot more,” said Mr Golden.

The Department of Agriculture official figures on cattle supplies from the AIMS data showed that beef cattle numbers on farms in May were down 93,000 head compared to last year.

This reduction meant finished cattle numbers will be tighter over the coming weeks and months, said Mr Golden.