Warning over winter beef supply as costs soar

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A fierce rise in farm costs and uncertainty surrounding the future of the beef market could affect beef supplies next winter, CAHI President Edmund Graham said.

It comes as Macra called on Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue to fund a beef finishing scheme similar to the one that was implemented in 2020.

In recent weeks, rising feed costs and uncertainty surrounding availability later in the year have once again placed beef feeders with an uncertain future.

“There will be very few fed cattle next winter given current realities. Mills need to change their normal way of doing business and plan to offer contracts now for cattle for next spring at prices that reflect current huge costs. There will be no beef in stores next spring without a dramatic change in prices and guarantees,” said Edmund Graham.

He said his organization was hearing reports that feed manufacturers would prioritize pigs and poultry over livestock rations in the event of shortages later this year.

“The cattle farmer is at the bottom of the heap in terms of priorities.

“Winter finishers need to know now if they have a grass or maize silage business, both of which are too expensive to grow for a business that at best is a gamble. “

He thinks that meat factories will have to insist on guaranteed prices with their retail and wholesale customers in the medium and long term.

“Farmers cannot be expected to bear all the risk alone. At current prices and with the high levels of uncertainty surrounding even product availability, beef finishers would be crazy to make plans to finish the livestock.

“Factories can’t expect that they can keep the price of beef for next spring a complete mystery and hope that all will be well that day. It won’t be and at the moment the farmers need some commitment at prices well above the current beef price,” he said.

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