The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) has accused beef factories of pulling prices to fill their own feedlots.

“Prices being pulled this week is a disgrace, as there is no real justification for it,” warned ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham.

Graham highlighted that the average British beef price (England, Scotland, Wales) has increased by the equivalent of 20c/kg excluding VAT since the start of August.

“Meanwhile, after a few weeks of improved prices, factories are attempting to drive Irish prices to a new low for 2023. This is not acceptable,” he said.

Own reasons

The ICSA beef chair suggested that factories have their own reasons for pulling prices “which has nothing to do with market demand, but everything to do with manipulating the trade to fill their own feedlots”.

“Factories cutting prices are doing so at the expense of ordinary beef farmers who have spent over the odds getting these cattle finished.

"We know that beef-type animals have gotten scarcer in the marts, that supplies are tight and that demand is buoyant, so it is outrageous that local suppliers cannot count on being treated fairly,” he said.

ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham. \ Dave Ruffles

Graham criticised beef processors at a time when “all market indications show that prices should be going up - not down”.

“The fact that we are already well behind UK prices just adds insult to injury,” he added.

Weekly kill

The farmer said that about 30% of the weekly beef kill is now coming from feedlots, almost one in three animals slaughtered.

“The numbers coming from feedlots have been growing steadily over recent years and these numbers are being used more and more to keep a lid on prices. It is clear factories are using this tactic to pay farmers here significantly below what they should be paying for cattle,” he said.

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