Beef farmers are unhappy with proposed deal
Kildare beef farmers are not happy with a proposed deal worked out by between farming representatives and the meat industry on Sunday afternoon.
They resumed protesting outside the Kildare Chilling premises in Kildare town almost as soon as the proposals were announced.
The main points from the proposed deal were that farmers would get an additional eight cents per kilogram on animals from quality assured farms up to 30 months of age, and also eight cents for those between 30 and 36 months.
However the additional payments would be over and above a base price which is currently between €3.45 and €3.50, depending on the factory.
But the farmers say that the base price can be adjusted as often as weekly, and in a matter of weeks, the eight cent increase could be wiped out.
John Dallon of Beef Plan Movement is arguing instead for a guaranteed floor for the base price, possibly of about €3.70 per kilogram, below which that price will never drop.
“And we could hope that the prices would recover over time after that,” he said.
He said that farmers felt they had to continue their protest, “because if they don’t stay the price could fall to €3 a kilo”.
Complicating the situation was a constant reminder from the Competition Authority that the negotiating parties could not discuss prices.
Meanwhile, at Kildare Chilling the protests which started on Sunday afternoon have been suspended for the first three days of this week in agreement with the company whose management have agreed not to kill any cattle during that period.
This is to allow for ongoing negotiations between farmers and Kildare Chilling.
As per usual, in order to prevent layoffs at the factory, Kildare Chilling will continue to slaughter sheep.
The base price for cattle has fallen from €4.20 to €3.50 per kilogram in the space of a year.
At a time when Teagasc estimates that €4.17 per kg is the minimum breakeven cost, many farmers are considering getting out of beef and going into dairy.