Aug 022012

 ICMSA accuse Meat Plants of manipulating price downwards

 There is absolutely no basis for a reduction in beef prices at this time and the cuts being imposed by meat plants represent a decision on their part to take advantage of the current weather pressures on farmers and manipulate the price downwards, according to Mr. Michael Guinan, Chairperson of ICMSA Beef & Cattle Committee.  

 “So far this year, the cattle kill is well down on last year’s levels and it’s also down on a week-to-week basis and with beef markets continuing to remain strong, farmers clearly recognise that meats plants have taken their chance to boost their profits at our expense and at a time when all farmers are under enormous pressure.  This price reduction simply cannot be justified and the meat plants should immediately reverse their decision.  It is quite clear that for the rest of this year, meat plants kill will be down and it is noticeable that our main EU markets have not seen any reduction in prices. In fact, prices in our main market, theUK, are actually higher than the levels prevailing here. In addition, currency movements have moved in our favour”, noted the Beef Committee Chairman.  

 In relation to the issue of unfinished cattle, Mr. Guinan said that a small change in the meat plants price grid would help address this issue and would also show that meat plants recognise, to some degree, the problems facing farmers.  Under the meat plants grid system, if cattle are to qualify for the quality assurance bonus they must be resident on the final farm for at least 70 days and must not have had more than three farm movements in their lifetime.  Many farmers who had planned on this basis now find that due to weather conditions and the lack of fodder, they have had to move these cattle earlier. Given the atrocious weather conditions ICMSA believes that meat plants should remove both the 70-day and three movement requirements so that farmers could avail of the option of selling their cattle to another farmer rather than go direct to slaughter with unfinished cattle.  

 “This simple change would allow the purchaser of these cattle to avail of the QA bonus when slaughtered as well as ensuring that meat plants get cattle in the condition they say they need. This change should be implemented and the meat plants should immediately reverse the cuts imposed.

 Ends     20 July 2012.

 Michael Guinan, 086-8766852

Chairman, ICMSA Beef & Cattle Committee


 Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office