NI livestock farmers unhappy about growing beef price gap

Beef farmers in Northern Ireland (NI) say it is “unacceptable” prices are falling and the gap between prices in Britain and NI is getting bigger, when consumer demand for beef is high thanks to the sunny weather.

Sam Chesney, Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) beef and lamb chairman, has called for the fairer treatment of farmers in NI.

“Last week, some steers in Scotland were getting offers near £4/kg deadweight compared to here where offers were about £3.72/kg deadweight. At a time when beef is in demand, this is unjustifiable.”

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Tightening beef supplies

Mr Chesney said the major beef-processing plants in NI had reported throughput had been at a lower levels in recent weeks, suggesting tightening supplies.

All the signals are the market is strong, there is demand for beef and processors must share the gains with primary producers Sam Chesney, Ulster Farmers’ Union

This should ultimately translate into higher farmgate prices, he said.

“All the signals are the market is strong, there is demand for beef and processors must share the gains with primary producers.

“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.”

Finished steer prices

According to figures from Northern Ireland’s Livestock and Meat Commission the R4 finished steer price in the week ending 30 June was 363.2p/kg deadweight.

In comparison, the British equivalent price was 383.8p/kg deadweight.

The UFU’s warning has coincided with claims by the Irish Farmers Association factories are hijacking the drought conditions to cut beef prices.

The accusation has been rejected by Meat Industry Ireland.