27th August, 2012
Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association beef committee chairman, Edmond Phelan, says there is an urgent need for more live exports for Irish cattle, given that domestic prices have taken a significant hit in recent weeks.
Mr. Phelan said, “Prices for beef have spiralled downwards in the last four to six weeks – so much so that many beef producers have seen their profit margins almost completely eroded. Irish prices are now up to €300 per head behind British prices. The main reason for this is that the extremely bad weather has given farmers very little choice but to sell their cattle; the factories know this and are taking advantage of the fact by cutting prices dramatically. This leaves finishers who bought cattle when they were very dear in the last 12 months in a very tough situation.”
“What we need is to create more competition so that we’re at least in with a shot of getting a decent price for the cattle we are producing. We know that long term prospects are being developed with countries such as China and I am fully behind these efforts – but what I am calling for now is a parallel focus on increasing live exports immediately, in order to alleviate the pressure currently being felt as factories squeeze prices further and further. There are indications that a number of countries in North Africa are potential customers for Irish cattle and possibilities like this need to be developed to the fullest extent.”