IFA president Tim Cullinan said factories must increase their prices to close the gap between prime Irish beef prices and prime export benchmark prices, as reported by Bord Bia.

40c/kg behind

He said the Irish price is now over 40c/kg behind the Bord Bia prime export benchmark price – the largest in 2023 – and prices in the UK alone are running almost €1/kg above ours.

“This is unacceptable profiteering by our processors and it must stop immediately. We need to see a significant price increase without delay,” he said.

Tim Cullinan said it is not acceptable that some factories persist in offering lower quotes when base prices of €4.65 and €4.70/kg are available for steers and heifers, with higher prices for specialist and larger lots.

Extreme weather

He said factories took advantage of the extreme weather conditions, which forced farmers’ hands in selling cattle in recent weeks, by holding back on price increases.

“The dynamic has now shifted, with supplies of suitable cattle not meeting demand. Over the past week, factories have had to pay up to 10c/kg above quotes to secure cattle,” he said.

The IFA president said supplies of cattle are tight in the UK, which enhances the opportunity for our beef, as factories start to build stocks for the increased seasonal demand.

He said factories must reflect the realities of the marketplace and increase beef price.