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Winter Finishers Resist Low Beef Prices

17 February 2009

IRELAND - IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Michael Doran said winter finishers are furious with the factories over the way they have attempted to manipulate a pull in quoted beef prices. He said there is no basis or market justification whatsoever for any change in prices.

Michael Doran said cattle finishers were strongly resisting the negative price cutting tactics of the factories and he said most cattle slaughtered this week were sold at last weeks’ prices or a base price of €3.19/kg for R grades. He said heifers and bulls were making €3.25 to €3.36/kg and cows were making over €2.80/kg.

The IFA livestock leader said the price cuts from the factories will drive finishers out of business. He said “at prices of €3.19/kg to €3.36/kg, finishers were struggling to cover costs and breakeven. Any move by the factories to drive down prices will compound the losses for winter finishers and bankrupt many efficient operators”.

Michael Doran said winter finishers are a vital component of the Irish beef sector and our ability to supply retail outlets on a year round basis.

Michael Doran said the facts of the beef market are; - Cattle supplies are very tight with the kill less than 30,000 head per week - Prices in our main market in the UK are strong at the equivalent of €3.40/kg - Since Christmas the sterling exchange rate has improved by the equivalent of more than 20c/kg - Beef prices in our main European markets are the equivalent of €3.50 to €4.00/kg - Europe has a beef deficit of 600,000t of beef - Brazilian imports into the EU are severely restricted.

The IFA livestock leader said farmers should insist on a base price of €3.19/kg at the factories. He said producers should also seriously consider the option of selling their cattle in the mart where factories were having to pay full value for finished stock.

Michael Doran also warned farmers selling cattle to the factories to insist on payment on the day of slaughter. He said payment on the day is essential and available at most of the meat plants. Michael Doran said farmers must make sure from the factory or their agent that they will get paid on the day of slaughter.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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