ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham has said meat factories have the scope to significantly increase prices but are refusing to do so despite massive hikes in input costs. “It’s a case of can pay more – won’t pay more at the minute. Throughout the month of November prices here have failed to keep up with average EU prices. We are now languishing at almost €0.20c/kg below the EU average for prime cattle, and that’s just not sustainable,” he said.
“Things get even worse if you do a direct comparison with the UK or Australia. Today in Australia beef farmers are getting the equivalent of €4.73/kg, while UK farmers are receiving the equivalent of €4.92/kg (excluding VAT). All the while quotes here have been stuck at €4.20-€4.30 (including VAT) for months. That might have been okay back in the month of July, but we are now in the depths of costly winter feeding and experiencing increased input costs all round.”
Mr Graham said that since the summer the price of beef finisher ration has gone up by €70-100/t, “That is only one cost. All our costs are rising exponentially, and we cannot allow beef processors to ignore the bare facts around the increased cost of production. Prices must move to at least the €5/kg mark, and quickly.”
“It is clear market conditions globally have improved considerably and processors in other countries have been able to increase their prices accordingly. It’s time our processors here started treating winter finishers fairly and woke up to the fact that beef finishers will be wiped out if they don’t.”