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Irish Farmers Battle Against Processor Pressure

10 March 2015

IRELAND - Irish farmers have hit back over pressure they claim is being placed on them by meat processors.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said feeders are not prepared to part with cattle at the lower quoted base prices of €4.10 on steers and €4.15 on heifers.

“Over the weekend factories had to part with €4.15 base to get steers and €4.20 on heifers,” said Mr Burns.

He said farmers should hold out strongly against the factories and insist on the full value for their stock.

Mr Burns said against a backdrop where cattle supplies in 2015 will be back 120/150,000 head, feeders know that supplies are going to get tighter and they need to dig in hard on price and resist the factory pressure.

He said the live export trade is increasing rapidly with a total of 7,241 head exported in the week ending March 1st. He said calf exports have increased significantly in the last week, accounting for over 66 per cent or 4,822 head.

Exports of adult cattle in Ireland reached 1,743 head last week with weanlings and stores totalling 326 and 350 head respectively.

Mr Burns said there were 2,724 head of calves exported to the Netherlands and 1,440 head to Spain. 1,640 cattle went to Northern Ireland, 642 to France, 351 to Britain, 212 head to Italy, 166 to Tunisia and 66 to Germany.

Live Exports in the earlier weeks also included 976 head exported to Tunisia, along with 433 to Libya.

Mr Burns said exporters and shippers are working on the trade to North Africa and IFA is hopeful of positive developments over the next number of weeks.

The IFA Livestock leader said there are some more encouraging signs that the EU live trade to Turkey could re-emerge strongly with about 40,000 head of younger stock exported in the last three months.

In addition there are talks that the live trade for finished cattle to Turkey may reopen soon.

He said this could be a major boost for the bull trade in France and Germany.

On beef prices, Mr Burns said any slight weakness in the UK market has been more than compensated for by the continuing strength of sterling against the Euro.

He said the change in sterling from 80p to 72.5p against the Euro is worth an additional 52c/kg in returns from GB or about €187 per head.

Mr Burns said market prices across the UK and the EU remain firm, with the British price at the equivalent of €5.34/kg for an R4L steer incl. of vat.

In Northern Ireland, Mr Burns said R3 steers are making the equivalent of €5.15/kg incl. vat.

Prices have improved in Italy, with Bord Bia reporting R3 bulls up another 5c/kg to €4.10/kg incl. vat. In Germany, R3 bulls are making €4.23/kg including vat.

The IFA Livestock Leader said cow prices remain very firm reflecting the overall strength of the market. Cows are ranging from €3.40/3.50 for P grades to €3.90/4.00 for U grades.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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