Attempts by beef factories to reduce beef prices to farmers must be resisted, Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) president Francie Gorman has said.

“This is typical of the factories to try and pull prices when cattle, which have been produced at the highest cost, are coming out of sheds. Farmers should push back hard as factories need cattle and supplies are tight,” he said.

IFA livestock chair Declan Hanrahan said there is no justification in the market place for any weakening of beef prices, which is putting further pressure on producers who operate on very low margins.

He said prices in our key markets are strong and rising, driven by tight supplies and solid demand for beef.

Clear indication

“The Bord Bia prime export benchmark price strengthened again in the past week, which is a clear indication of the market opportunities for Irish beef and very much at odds with the irresponsible opportunism of meat factories here,” he said.

He added that when the Bord Bia benchmark tracker is updated to reflect the increased value of beef exports to the key UK market, it will highlight further the capacity for higher returns for beef.

Volumes of beef exported to the UK market grew from 43% in 2022 to 47% in 2023.

“Factories are not having it all their own way. Mart prices are strongly driven by exporters buying forward store and finished cattle for NI and international markets as volumes moving to these markets increase weekly,” he concluded.