Ulster Outrage on Producer Pay Cuts

IRELAND, UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union has criticised local meat processors plans to cut prices paid to producers.
calendar icon 20 October 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Harry Sinclair
Photo: UFU

UFU Beef and Lamb Chairman William Taylor said possible cuts in prices for cattle in Northern Ireland was very bad news for beef producers who have been trying to cope with high feed costs and difficult weather conditions.

William Taylor said; “Meat plants are making a concerted effort to cut the prices paid to farmers. There is absolutely no recognition that producers have to cover their costs. Meanwhile the differential between the price paid for cattle in Northern Ireland and the price paid for cattle in GB remains an unjustifiable disadvantage for our local farmers; and the gap is widening.

Farmers in the North of England are receiving almost 30 pence per kilogram more for their R4 grade cattle than producers in Northern Ireland, which is a disgraceful situation. While meat plants are letting our prices slide week on week, prices in GB and the Republic of Ireland are holding up much better.

Price quotes to local farmers are 12 pence per kilogram lower than they were 10 days ago. I would once again urge local beef suppliers to be strong sellers and not take prices which de-value our stock”.

Meanwhile the UFU has supported weanling producers, keen to resume exports to the Continent. UFU Deputy President Harry Sinclair was part of a delegation which raised the issue with the Agriculture Committee at Stormont this week. Weanling export trade to Italy has been disrupted by concerns on the Continent about TB.

Harry Sinclair said; “We need decisive action to remove TB from our countryside. We are also highlighting that any herd exporting from Northern Ireland has to have officially TB free status. Any animals over 42 days of age for export from Northern Ireland are pre-movement TB tested, they are either moved directly from the farm of origin (which can only be OTF), or via the exporters premises where a 30 day residency period is completed, and have full veterinary certification.

"Regional Authorities in Italy are insisting that weanling importers carry out an additional post import TB test 42 days after animals arrive at the distributors premises. This extra requirement is not part of the EC Trade Directive and is acting as a severe hindrance to our potential export trade. Our existing TB controls are more than adequate to meet the requirements of the EC Trade Directive and the Italian Authorities should be encouraged to drop this unnecessary ‘barrier’ to the weanling trade from Northern Ireland”.

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