The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association’s Beef Chairman, Edmond Phelan, says he is alarmed at proposals from some factories to reduce the upper weight limit on bulls.
In some factories the upper weight limit is being cut down to 440kg, with talk of a possible limit of 380kg in certain cases.
Edmond Phelan says that this is making it increasingly difficult for farmers to make a profit on their animals. “At the end of the day, there is no point in selling a bull if there’s no profit in it – that makes the whole trade unviable.”
“Suckler farmers need to be getting in excess of €1,000 for their quality older weanlings, so the beef finishers have to be able to achieve a realistic end price from the factories. If the factories insist on imposing these limits, there will be negative consequences for the trade as a whole. More and more weanlings will be sent abroad as live exports, meaning less beef will be processed in Ireland. This will have a direct effect on employment, on our ability to reach targets for beef production for Food Harvest 2020, and on efforts to open up new markets abroad for Irish beef.”
Mr. Phelan called on the factories to seriously reconsider these weight limits and explore more ways of securing premium prices for Irish beef on the market.