Factories opportunistic in pulling beef prices

Wednesday, 3 July, 2013

Ulster Farmers’ Union Beef and Lamb Policy Chairman Robert Davidson has accused factories of being opportunistic in pulling the price of beef by 10p/kg over the last fortnight. 

Robert Davidson said; “Farmers are frustrated that quoted beef prices have fallen back from 382p/kg to 372p/kg within such a short period of time.  Many producers have struggled this year with the difficult weather conditions, a continued rise in production costs and fodder shortages. In addition, and as a consequence, there has been very little grass finished beef going into the factories, with almost all still coming off a high cost housed system.

“Beef prices in Great Britain have steadied but are said to be showing signs of increasing.  This 10p/kg reduction in the Northern Irish beef price is therefore totally unnecessary, particularly as supplies for prime cattle during 2013 have been relatively tight.  Producers need a good return for their beef so that they can recover from what has been a very difficult 18 months and if processors want continuity of supply they must show continued support for their producers, particularly during these challenging times. 

“I would advise producers to not simply settle for the first price on the table but to bargain hard as data on average prices would suggest that higher prices than those quoted are indeed available.”

The UFU are planning to meet with the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association to discuss the issues facing the red meat sector and to stress that beef producers need a fair and reflective price for their quality produce which covers the rising costs of production in order to sustain the future of Northern Ireland’s primary beef industry.