ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham said that figures from Teagasc showing complete lack of profitability underline the “need for reality from beef processors and retailers in dealing with the factory protests”.
Mr Graham was responding to comments made by Teagasc head of drystock, Pearse Kelly, at a beef meeting in Kilkenny on Tuesday (September 4th).
“It is now crystal clear that the ruthless exploitation of farmers for many years by processors and retailers has blown up in their face and that solutions to the beef factory protests must involve recognition that current beef prices are utterly unsustainable.”
“Teagasc has now admitted that at current prices, a suckler-to-beef enterprise will lose €150 per cow, and that assumes that the finished animal gets the 12c QPS bonus”
“The analysis suggests that rearing a dairy calf to beef will lead to a loss of at least €150/head and over €200/head where there is Jersey cross breeding involved. “
“Unfortunately, all of this demonstrates that ICSA has been correct all along to suggest that farmers have no business rearing dairy calves, even if they get them for free.”
'No beef production system is profitable at current prices'
Phelan said that it also suggests that giving farmers a coupled payment for suckler cows is “futile” and that farmers would be “better off with payments over five years to voluntarily reduce suckler numbers.
Mr Graham added that advice from Teagasc on increasing efficiency, and advice from ICBF on producing better stock, means “nothing when prices are at current levels”.
“No amount of efficiencies could ever make up the gap. Mr Kelly’s presentation last night clearly indicated that no beef production system is profitable at current prices.”
“ICSA is calling on all retailers to clarify if they are happy to continue exploiting farmers. It’s all very well saying markets are sluggish, but the reality is that big supermarkets control almost 90% of beef retail sales in Ireland and the UK and therefore set the market.
“They use cheap beef so that consumers are then conned into paying up to €12 for 4 replacement shaving blades which can be manufactured in a few seconds for a few cents in a low wage country.”