ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham has said that the future for winter finishing is looking very bleak with a no-deal Brexit now becoming a serious possibility.
‘Beef finishers are once again being left without any certainty in beef prices or markets. With the potential of €740m tariffs being imposed, beef finishers need the full facts as to how this will affect their business. Yet the meat industry, the Department of Agriculture, Bord Bia and Teagasc have had little to offer in the way of help or advice,’ he claimed.
Mr Graham said it is now essential that meat factories start making plans for forward contracts with fixed prices. ’Farmers could end up broke if they tie up substantial levels of capital in feeding cattle at high daily costs over the coming months with no guarantee of a return.
‘Farmers need clear figures from Teagasc on winter finishing costs based on today’s store prices and with a sensitivity analysis to allow for a no-deal Brexit. Teagasc need to be upfront with winter finishers.
‘Winter finishers need accurate costings which are based on the reality of what mart prices are for stores at the moment. In short, farmers need to be told what price they need next spring to make a reasonable return on the work and investment involved in feeding cattle for the winter.’
Mr Graham added: ‘We also need Bord Bia to explain what are the options for 260,000 tons of beef if we find the UK market is not feasible in the event of tariffs being applied.
‘The uncertainty around the outlook has left winter finishers very worried and many are currently telling us that they just won’t do it.’