The increasing price difference between Northern Ireland and Great Britain is a growing concern for local beef producers, according to the Ulster Farmers’ Union.
Over the past month prime cattle prices across Great Britain have strengthened on a weekly basis and are currently averaging 351p/kg for R3 cattle. While trading conditions for farmers in the rest of the UK have improved quickly, price increases in Northern Ireland have been slow.
Local processors have up to now been trying to stall any increases in the base price. This has resulted in the growth of the price differential from 3p/kg to 15p/kg over the last month, which on a 380kg animal is almost £57. For local farmers this is a concerning trend, with many still trying to recoup heavy losses from finishing cattle earlier in the year.
UFU have previously highlighted the lack of activity by DAERA to tackle the price differential and their acceptance of the status quo. With a new Minister in place the Union expect changes in the direction DAERA policy will take, particularly in terms of trying to increase live exports from Northern Ireland.
Reducing red tape and promoting the live export of cattle from Northern Ireland will be essential going forward in helping to sustain local beef production.