NORTHERN IRISH finished cattle prices are way below what is being earned on the UK mainland – and the Province's National Beef Association chairman, Oisin Murnion, has demanded to know why.
The price gulf is reported to involve a per kilo differential of between 30p and 48p against the mainland, equivalent to a shortfall of between £108 and £172 per head on an average weight R4L carcase.
Responding to the news that Ulster's Livestock and Meat Commission is planning an independent evaluation of this gap, Mr Murnion expressed relief that an organisation that represents the beef industry, and not just farmers, had got involved.
"Price differentials of that depth on cattle that are similarly bred, similarly fed, and sold to the same markets must be explained, and breeders and feeders are already looking forward to reading the conclusions reached by the LMC's independent appointees," said.
However, there is little doubt where the NBA expects the finger of blame to point, with confirmation this week that 14.6% of the Province's prime cattle kill during the last week in September was imported from the Republic of Ireland – where stock is around £50 a head cheaper.
"Our two most predatory processors are once again showing they cannot resist being motivated by short term gain," commented Mr Murnion. "This is a short sighted act of avarice. NI processors sell much of their beef onto the mainland and as a result already benefit from the £147 per head discount on NI cattle," he noted.
Meat Trade News Daily Supporting British Pig Farmers
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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