Factories ‘own goal’ on prices is slated by IFA

Michael Flynn: Minister 'out of touch'.
Michael Flynn: Minister 'out of touch'.

THE soccer World Cup might have spiced up the UK and European demand for beef products but this week the Irish meat plants have been accused of scoring an ‘own goal’ in trying to cut prices for cattle.

According to the IFA, the meat plants are ‘up to their usual seasonal tricks’ by cutting the quotes for both steers and heifers.

The ‘concerted move’ by the meat plants has been described as very damaging to the Irish cattle and beef industry – and it comes at a time when some farmers are under pressure for grass due to the ongoing dry weather.

Galway IFA Livestock Chairman, Michael Flynn, said that the factories were trying to take advantage of the weather situation as some cattle farmers faced grass shortages.

Over the course of the past 10 days or so, there has also been a sharp rise in the cull cow numbers being sent to the factories – again, thought to be a weather/grass shortage related issued.

“Our bottom line is that despite all the tactics used by the factories, the demand for beef is still very strong and the market situation is very positive.

“Our advice to farmers is to bargain hard with the meat plants and not to sell any unfinished cattle to the factories.

“The mart trade has been very lively all year. Farmers with strong cattle, that just mightn’t be quite factory ready, should bring them to the marts,” advised Michael Flynn.

Angus Woods, National IFA Livestock representative, said at this early stage the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed should immediately call in the key factory players and challenge them directly over their actions.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.