Falling beef prices unjustifiable, says UFU chairman

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The Ulster Farmers’ Union says it is unacceptable that beef prices in Northern Ireland are falling at a time when consumer demand for beef is high.

UFU beef and lamb chairman, Sam Chesney says NI prices are falling and the price differential with GB is getting bigger.

He added: “Last week, some steers in Scotland were getting offers near £4.00/KG compared to here where offers were around £3.72/KG. At a time when beef is in demand, this is unjustifiable.”

The major beef processing plants in Northern Ireland have reported steady supply to meet the demands of customers and throughput has been at a lower level in recent weeks.

Mr Chesney says this suggests a tightening in supply, which should ultimately translate into higher farm gate prices.

“Farmers deserve to be treated fairly. All signals are that the market is strong, there is demand for beef and processors must share the gains with primary producers.”

In recent weeks, UK retail sales of beef have been on the up.

“The sun is shining and consumers are reaching for their barbeque favourites. The good weather looks set to stay for a while so we expect the trend to continue. This is not the time for processors to be pulling prices but instead to show their commitment to primary producers and a well-functioning supply chain,” said Mr Chesney.