IFA president Joe Healy has said the IFA will hold an intensive lobby of all TDs and senators on what he calls the beef crisis in Dublin on Wednesday 13 February.
Healy said the crisis was due to multiple factors, including poor prices, rising costs and reduced direct payments, and this had been compounded by the weakness of sterling and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
According to the IFA, compared to this time last year, cattle prices were down by 20/25 cents per kg or €100/head. Cattle finishers with young bulls were facing price cuts of 40c/kg+ and finding it almost impossible to sell their stock.
The IFA president said urgent action was required now by the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and the government to ensure market support from the EU; support for the live export trade; funding for suckler cows; resistance to the Mercosur deal; and a challenge to meat factories to increase prices.
IFA national livestock chairman Angus Woods said R3 grade young bulls in Ireland were reported at €3.71/kg for w/e 19 January, less than prices achieved elsewhere in Europe.
“Compared to young bull prices across the main EU markets, we are way behind with the Italian price at €4.55/kg including VAT, the German price at €4.05/kg, French bulls at €4.02/kg and the Spanish price at €3.98/kg,” said Woods. “These figures indicate that Irish young bull producers are being short-changed by up to 30c/kg compared to our European counterparts.”
He added: “We made it very clear to Minister Creed at the IFA AGM last week that he must reconsider his approach, abandon his ‘wait and see attitude’ and get back out to Brussels to secure an immediate aid package for Brexit beef losses.”
Woods said he met with senior EU Commission officials from DG Agri in Brussels last week and put forward a strong case for a Brexit aid package for Irish beef. In addition, he said IFA also met with senior officials in the Department of Agriculture on EU supports, as well as requesting that for every 5c/kg change in price, Minister Creed needed to secure €20 per head additional direct payment compensation.