Protests in Nenagh: IFA Fight Factory Price Cuts

IRELAND - IFA today staged protests outside the AIBP beef factory in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, Kepak in Athleague, Co Roscommon and the Dawn Meats Group plant in Granagh, Co Waterford over the beef price cuts inflicted on winter finishers in recent weeks.
calendar icon 13 March 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

Speaking at the protest outside the AIBP in Nenagh, IFA President Padraig Walshe said there was deep anger among beef producers at the way the factories had cut prices and used negative propaganda to destroy confidence among winter finishers and erode their incomes.

He said at the current low prices of €3.02/kg, producers are losing €200 per head and many winter finishers will be put out of business. “This tactic by the factories will backrupt winter finishers this spring.”

Padraig Walshe accused the meat factories of using their cattle agents to spread as much bad news as possible and inflict maximum damage on cattle prices. The price cuts over the last four weeks amounting to over €80 per head are unjustified based on market returns.

He said Bord Bia is reporting the UK price at £2.90/kg, which is the equivalent of €3.43/kg. With Irish factories quoting prices down to €3.02/kg, this means a massive price difference of €126 per head has opened up between Irish and UK cattle prices.

Padraig Walshe pointed out that over half of all Irish beef exports, in excess of 260,000 tonnes, go to the high priced UK market. Bord Bia is also reporting an increase in prices across the EU, with the price in Italy moving up to €4/kg.

The IFA Livestock Chairman Michael Doran said, “Winter finishers are furious at the way the factories have cut cattle prices and destroyed their incomes over the last number of weeks. In recent meetings IFA have told the three main factory players - AIBP, Dawn and Kepak - that cattle prices would have to rise substantially for finishers to survive this spring.”

Michael Doran said the facts are the factory price cuts cannot be justified. He said cattle supplies are well below 30,000 head per week, UK prices have moved up to €3.43/kg, EU prices are ranging from €3.50-€4.00, there is a major beef deficit across Europe and Brazilian beef imports remain severely restricted.

The IFA livestock leader said the lastest price-cutting tactics of the factories have very damaging implications for the Irish beef sector. He said “price cuts which will wipe out profitability for winter finishers will drive the beef sector back into a major seasonality problem, and completely undermine our ability to supply year round retail markets in the UK and across Europe.”

Michael Doran said it is clear based on market returns the factories’ price-cutting tactics are wrong. He said factories cannot justify cutting prices in Ireland by €80 per head over the last four weeks when beef prices in our main export markets remain stable and are increasing.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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