Up to 500 farmers staged a protest outside Dawn Meats, Grannagh, Kilmacow this afternoon, led by Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) county chairman, John Bambrick.
He said there was real anger and frustration with all the meat factories over the way they have cut bull beef prices over the last two months, leaving farmers with major financial losses.
He pointed out that the factory price for bulls has been cut by 30 cents to 50c/kg or up to €200 per head since last December. “This has seriously eroded confidence among beef farmers and left winter finishers with substantial losses. The price cuts have to stop,” he said.
“We had to send out a message to the meat factories that they cannot continue to so this,” Mr Bambrick said.
IFA has met all of the meat plants since the New Year outlining the losses at farm level, demanding price stability and a move on the backlog of bulls. In addition, IFA met with Meat Industry Ireland and senior factory management two weeks ago demanding a halt in the price cuts and an increase in the kill to shift any backlog of bulls.
Mr Bambrick said that while the bull kill increased last week, it was totally unacceptable that further price drops followed. He wants the factories to restore some confidence into the beef trade at farm level and make it clear that bull beef prices have bottomed out and will not fall further.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said the price cuts on bulls have seriously eroded the beef market with factories undercutting each other on our export markets. In addition, he claimed that confidence at farm level has been eroded and needs to be restored. “The suckler cow herd is under major threat and much tighter specifications on bulls in respect of age, weight and price will threaten numbers in the future. Winter finishing and year-round beef production to service the higher priced retail contracts is also under pressure,” he added.