IFA President Eddie Downey said Minister Coveney must turn his request to the meat factories into a demand, and insist that they respond and honour the agreement they entered into with their farmer suppliers on the Quality Payment System.
“Factories have treated farmers very unfairly all year, imposing a raft of age, weight and other specification cuts resulting in feeders taking severe losses. Trust is at an all-time low and action is overdue to address livestock farmer concerns,” he said.
“Minister Coveney must realise and accept that beef farmers are in a very difficult income situation and the severe cuts to beef prices have left the sector in an unviable position going forward,” the IFA President added.
“This has to change. Teagasc have made it clear beef farmers need a price of at least €4.00/kg just to cover costs and make a small margin.”
Referring to the Minister’s request to meat factories, ICSA president Patrick Kent said “The Minister is now getting the message that there is a crisis of confidence in the beef sector.
“As a crucial first step to restoring confidence, meat factories must take the 380kg weight limit and the 16-month requirement off the table,” he told the Leitrim Observer.
“They (the factories) must also bring forward proposals on how many suckler bulls they have markets for, which will give an indication as to what is a viable number of sucklers going into the future,” insisted Mr Kent.
“Processors and retailers must realise that the 380kg weight limit is out of the question if a viable suckler herd providing top quality beef is to be maintained,” Mr Kent maintained.
“We also need a change of approach from processors on pricing and quality assured bonuses.”
Farming groups have expressed dissatisfaction at the pace at which the problems impacting the beef sector, are being resolved and are now calling for immediate action.