IFA Highlight The Real Facts On Market Returns And Cattle Suppliers.

IRELAND - Speaking at the IFA meeting of cattle finishers attended by over 400 farmers this week in Co. Laois, IFA President Padraig Walshe said the facts on cattle prices and market returns are that beef prices in the UK, our main export market are 28c/kg (10p/lb) or €100 per head above the prices being quoted by Irish factories.
calendar icon 15 March 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

On cattle supplies, Padraig Walshe said CMMS figures for 1st December last year show that the number of cattle in the 18 to 30 month age category are down 130,000 on year earlier levels, pointing to an immediate tightening in finished beef supplies.

The IFA President said that these facts on market returns and cattle supply numbers are in direct contradiction to the negative propaganda being used by factories and their agents over the last 2 weeks to drive down cattle prices. He said, “the procurement managers and agents are in overdrive trying to control numbers and drive down prices.”

Padraig Walshe said last weeks kill was down to 32,236 and steer supplies were back over 2,000 head at 13,502. He said supplies were already tightening and feeders needed to dig in with the factories on price.

IFA National Livestock Chairman John Bryan said that at current beef prices feeders were losing up to €100 per head. “Winter finishers are not prepared to allow factories take €100 per beef animal off their single farm payment.” He said this is totally unacceptable when our main market in the UK is paying the equivalent of €3.23/kg and the EU market is returning an average price of €3.31/kg.

At the meeting, there was strong criticism from farmers of factories importing Brazilian beef into Europe and onto the domestic market. The IFA pointed out that in 2005, total beef imports into Ireland amounted to 32,000t worth €78.5m, of which 8,759t was imported directly from Brazil.

The IFA President said that 9 months after the Government had introduced country of origin labelling it was intolerable that the Food Safety Authority had not undertaken a comprehensive programme of inspections on the issue.

On strong farmer criticism of the factories over the lack of price competition, Padraig Walshe said that he had received no reply from the Minister for Agriculture Mary Coughlan to an IFA request to publish a full breakdown of the weekly cattle kill for each named meat plant over the last 5 years.

Farmers at the meeting also raised issues on mechanical classification and grading, weights and measures, the increase in the BSE testing age from 30 to 36 months and WTO. Padraig Walshe said IFA would pursue all of thee issues with both the Department of Agriculture and the EU Commission.

On WTO, Padraig Walshe said Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan had invited EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson to Dublin on March 23rd. He said in WTO Commissioner Mandelson had offered to destroy Irish livestock farmers to make way for South American style ranchers and traders. Padraig Walshe said IFA will be holding a demonstration against the Mandelson visit to Dublin on March 23rd.

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