IFA president Joe Healy said there was a “concerted effort” by the meat factories over pricing and accused them of “sabotage” at a time when Brexit is a threat to beef farmers
“This is naked opportunism by the factories on the back of beef farmers,” he said.
“There has been a huge national focus on the threat posed by Brexit to beef and the national economy. A cut to cattle prices would be an irresponsible act of sabotage by the meat factories at a time when the focus needs to be on Brexit.”
IFA said that farmers selling cattle at a base price of €3.75/kg for steers and €3.85/kg for heifers were taking cuts of 20-25c/kg below last year’s price levels, or reductions of up to €100 per head. Farmers selling young bulls had been hit for €200 per head.
IFA national livestock chairman Angus Woods said the organisation had been in contact with all of the main meat factory bosses and Meat Industry Ireland on the cattle price issue.
He said: “With numbers set to tighten over the coming weeks, IFA and farmers are expecting cattle prices to rise.”
IFA said that cattle prices in the main export market, the UK, were at £3.46/kg for w/e 9 March, equivalent to €4.24/kg at 86p/€ exchange rate. This was 40c/kg above the Irish price or €150 per animal. Across the main EU markets, R3 males were making from €3.90 to €4.30/kg, it added.