Name: Michael Danagher
Location: Errill, Co. Laois
Enterprise: Pedigree Charolais herd with a number of commercial breeding females with 60% Shorthorn blood and some Charolais and Belgian-Blue influence. 60% of progeny are finished on-farm.
I didn't attend any of the protests at the factory gates as I don't think the protests are going to make any major impact on prices.
Farmers who have cattle ready to kill are going to have to bring them to the factory because they can't afford to be feeding them for longer periods.
The protestors can't expect farmers to stop bringing cattle to factories when they are relying on the returns to pay bills regardless of the prices.
It's disheartening to hear how much profit factories and shareholders are making when beef farmers are facing an uncertain future.
The cost of producing beef is constantly going up with the returns going down and down. It's unsustainable for any farm to keep producing at a loss. Unfortunately, it’s looking more and more like a dairy-bred beef industry for Ireland in the future.
Live exports and marts
Quality standards have already dropped in the marts over the past couple of years and it's only going to increase. The lack of live exports is giving the factories the upper hand as they have access to so much stock that they can dictate the prices.
Unless Ireland can sort out more live exports, I think the situation will get a lot worse. To maintain the production of top-quality cattle and suckler cow numbers, farmers need to be guaranteed that they will get a fair price for their animals and have more options other than relying on the factories to dictate prices.
The factory prices dictate mart prices and that's making plainer cattle hard to sell. No farmer is going to want to buy in plainer cattle to finish when the prices are down, and the future is uncertain.
Farmers are looking to but quality cattle but unfortunately, the numbers aren't there and they are declining rapidly. It’s all a waiting game from here on.