This year has seen beef farmers being taken advantage of by factories, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA).

The ICSA has called on factory bosses to close the gap between Irish and UK beef prices, or explain the continued difference.

ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham said the increase in costs of inputs and the sustained price differential means beef farmers need €5/kg to stay viable.

“Although prices are now starting to head up, we started 2021 with a steer price differential of 35c/kg compared with the UK. This rose to almost 75c/kg differential in the first week of April.”

Graham added that the reopening of the UK food service and catering sector means that “there are no more room for excuses”.


“Farmers have more to be unhappy about in 2021 than in summer 2019 when the beef factory protests took hold,” Graham said.

He said that current prices must also be set in a context of escalating input prices, on the back of fertiliser and meal prices increasing, as well as increased oil prices, which are affecting silage-making costs.

“The cost of repairs or improvements is rapidly getting beyond most beef farmers, as steel costs go through the roof,” Graham continued.

“If these trends continue, beef farmers will need €5/kg just to stay viable.

“This is why I am insisting that beef factory bosses should give an explanation why our prices are so far behind the UK prices at a time of rocketing demand.”