'Beef Summit' to address row over bull prices

Thursday 17 April 2014 21.53
Meat processors were accused of leaving farmers high and dry in recent months
Meat processors were accused of leaving farmers high and dry in recent months

A high-level meeting of all the key stakeholders in the Irish beef trading sector is taking place at Dublin Castle today.

The meeting, which has been dubbed a "Beef Summit", was called by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

It is in response to the bitter row and mistrust that has developed between farmers and beef processors over poor prices for bull beef in recent months.

The minister is expected to push for an improved flow of information between the meat processors and farmers.

Meat processors were accused of leaving farmers high and dry in recent months because of a change in the specification of the bull cattle they wanted for slaughter.

They demanded younger cattle in response to changing specifications dictated by the major supermarkets they sell to in the UK, where most of the beef was due to end up.

The farmers were taken by surprise by the move.

Many were left stuck with cattle that they could not get slaughtered or were forced to accept prices that were significantly lower than they needed to break-even.

The bitterness and negativity threatens to undermine major Government growth targets for the beef sector.

The 30 most influential players in the beef sector will be in attendance including meat processors, Larry Goodman's ABP; Dawn Meats and Kepak, as well as the main farm organisations, Bord Bia and Teagasc.