A gap of €190 per head now exists between the price paid for a steer in Ireland and a steer in the UK and a clear signal is required that this gap will be closed immediately, according to Mr. Michael Guinan, Chairperson of ICMSA’s Beef and Cattle Committee, who went on to describe the current situation as totally unacceptable and another example of meat plants taking advantage of farmers who are farming in very difficult circumstances at present.
“In Janaury 2012, the price being paid for steer and heifers in Ireland and the UK was almost the same with the heifer price in Ireland actually ahead of the UK price for some grades.
“A year later, the Irish steer price is over 50 cents per kg behind the UK price, while the heifer price is around 30 cents per kg behind the UK heifer price, that’s equivalent to €190 per head on the average steer and €90 per head on the average heifer.
“The question that must be asked is why - when markets remain strong for beef and our key markets in the EU will see reduced beef production this year - has such a gap developed between Irish prices and the UK prices, the main market for Irish beef”, asked Mr Guinan.
“There is absolutely no logical explanation as to why this gap has developed and meats plants should immediately raise beef prices to reflect market returns.
“If this does not happen, serious questions need to be asked on this issue and our Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine should intervene and ensure that producers are treated fairly.
“Farmers are fed up at being the last in the line in terms of receiving a fair cut of the final consumer price and our politicians must act both at national and EU level to address this issue that has been repeatedly ignored by successive administrations at national and EU level”, concluded Mr. Guinan.