ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan has said he is very anxious about further consolidation of the beef trade in the hands of the big three following news that Dawn Meats is to acquire Dunbia.
"Decreasing competition in the meat processing sector is bad news for farmers. This deal will only serve to increase the all-powerful and dominant position of this small circle of players. Farmers struggle on a daily basis to get a fair price for their cattle from factories, this is just going to weaken their position even further," he said.
Mr Phelan said that it proved once again that the only hope for the beef sector in this country was competition between live exports and factories.
ICSA wants to see more support for the live trade from Minister Creed to give farmers that added option when selling their cattle.
"It is now more apparent than ever that it is the only show in town to deliver badly needed relief to hard pressed cattle farmers," he said. “The only other hope would be for processors to try to use their increasing dominance to push for higher prices from retailers when beef is scarce rather than driving down price to farmers when beef is plentiful."
However, the evidence was factories were increasingly using their own feedlots to undermine independent farmers making a profit, said Mr Phelan.