There is no excuse for factories to keep prices at the current low levels, ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham has said.

“The low take-up of Aids to Private Storage (APS) illustrates that factories are needlessly keeping prices at an unsustainably low level.

“Demand is clearly exceeding supply and factories have no business keeping downward pressure on prices,” he said.

20t in storage

Figures from the EU’s Meat Market Observatory (MMO) show that Ireland placed 20t of beef into the private storage aid scheme since it opened in May.

In total across the EU, some 1,885t of beef has been placed in the measure, with Spain placing the largest amount of beef in storage with 508t and Poland next-highest with 442t.

Ireland’s 20t of beef has been placed in the scheme for the 90-day period.

UK demand

Graham said that soaring supermarket demand in the UK has seen beef prices there continue to rally.

“So much so that prices paid to UK farmers have increased by £0.40/kg over the last number of weeks and are now at their highest point for more than 12 months.

“By 10 June, British farmers were getting £3.63/kg, which breaks the €4.00/kg mark when converted. Processors here have just been far too slow in getting back to realistic pricing levels and they’re just not going to get away with it much longer,” he said.

He said processors are misguided if they believe that farmers will continue to finish beef at today’s prices.

“Cattle cannot be fed at current prices and farmers will just stop doing it. If the demand is there, factories are going to have to get real and pay a price that at least covers the cost of feeding the animals they need to stay in business,” he said.

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