The treatment of farmers at the present time who have invested heavily in a bull beef enterprise, in many cases on the advice of meat plants is an absolute disgrace and meat plants should immediately move to address the situation to allow farmers get their cattle slaughtered at a fair and reasonable price, according to Mr. Michael Guinan, Chairperson of ICMSA’s Beef & Cattle Committee. The meat plants also need to clarify their long-term policy on bull beef production so that farmers can take informed decisions whether to continue in this enterprise or not.
It is simply not acceptable that farmers are finding that young bull prices are lower than this time last year while steer and heifer prices are broadly the same and that farmers are finding it difficult to get bulls killed. With the introduction of the beef grid which heavily and unfairly penalised cattle from the dairy herd in particular, meat plants and indeed Teagasc advised farmers to look at bull beef production as an option for dairy cattle to overcome the negatives of the beef grid. Farmers duly took this advice and are now being penalised for taking this advice. The farmer alone is the only person suffering the loss.
Mr. Guinan said, that the beef processors simply cannot change policy and expect farmers to take the hit. How can farmer have confidence in a sector that sees committed beef producers taking a hit as they are now? What needs to happen is that meat plants return to normal practice in terms of killing young bulls at a fair and reasonable price and then, the meat plants need to spell out their position on young bull production and inform farmers of the prospects for this sector so that individual farmers can take informed decisions to stick with this business and switch to a different enterprise. We cannot allow a situation where farmers trying to get cattle killed see their cattle go out of specification and face further penalties.
The factories need to resolve this issue immediately and secondly, clearly state their long term position on bull beef production as the current situation is undermining the confidence of beef producers, concluded Mr. Guinan.
Ends. 03 January 2014
Michael Guinan, 086 8766851
Chairperson, ICMSA Beef & Cattle Committee
Cathal MacCarthy, 087 6168758
ICMSA Press Office