Ulster Meat Processors Criticised for Beef Price

UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union has strongly criticised local meat processing companies for lowering the price of beef to producers in the past week, despite improving market conditions in GB.
calendar icon 17 November 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

UFU Beef and Lamb Chairman William Taylor, who met processors this week, said he had voiced the anger and frustration of beef producers at the current prices being offered by meat plants.

William Taylor said: “I have only one message for beef farmers in Northern Ireland – shop around, check all your options and don’t be pressurised into accepting the low prices on offer at local meat plants. While prices improve for producers in other parts of the UK, Northern Ireland is still being treated by meat plants as a source of cheap meat”.

William Taylor said the fall in beef prices over the last month was removing any confidence producers may have in the future of the industry. He said; “We are often told by Northern Ireland meat processors that they want to see a future for the local beef industry, but their recent actions to further reduce quotes certainly does not reflect this. We are entering a time of the year when the cost of finishing beef on farms increases significantly and producers prices need to rise to reflect this, but the opposite is happening. Prime cattle supplies have fallen by 12% so far this year when compared with the same period in 2007 and we are approaching the traditional Christmas market when demand increases, so conditions are right for an increase in prices”.

The UFU says farmers also continue to be angry that the price differential continues to exist and grow between NI and GB, despite supplying the same UK market.

William Taylor highlighted that cow slaughtering in the 4 week period ending 1 November increased by 41% this year, compared to last year, whilst overall cow slaughtering are up 20%. He said this was clear evidence that farmers have lost faith in the industry and are making the decision to leave; “If we are to have a future for this industry we cannot have a situation where producers confidence is continually knocked by a differential in price and unjustified price cuts”.

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