Ulster Farmers’ Union beef and lamb chairman, Crosby Cleland, says the attempts by local processors to pull prices are a cause for concern and are out of step with the improving marketing conditions in Great Britain.
Mr Cleland says: “Over the past month beef prices in Great Britain have been quietly improving as a result of a strong demand for prime cattle.
“In contrast over the last four weeks, Northern Ireland beef processors have attempted to drag prices down and take advantage of farmers’ struggles with the poor weather.
“This is difficult for producers to comprehend as costs increase going into the autumn.”
The NI-GB price differential has been a big concern for farmers in the past and farmers have welcomed the fact that for most of this year it has been fairly limited.
However, the growth in the differential again in recent weeks is causing alarm.
Mr Cleland says: “Northern Ireland beef is largely being sold at premium prices on the shelves of the big UK retailers so there is absolutely no reason why processing companies here cannot return beef prices comparable with those in Great Britain.
“The fact that they are currently unwilling to match prices being paid in GB shows a lack of commitment from processors to support their supply base.”