NI Beef Price Comparisons

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Northern Irish beef producers are threatened by imports of cheaper Republic of Ireland beef. While Scotland continue to gain competitive advantage with an additional 37p/kg says the weekly Livestock and Meat Commission bulletin.
calendar icon 19 November 2009
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In the month of October there were some significant developments in NI slaughter numbers. The total cattle kill for the month was eight per cent higher than last October, driven mainly by significant increases in the cow and bull kills. The young bull kill increased by 75 per cent with more farmers looking for the efficiencies associated with rearing bulls. The increased mature bull kill may be an indication of increased culling of the beef suckler herd.

For the year to date the total cattle kill is up by five per cent with clean cattle slaughterings up by three per cent. This has been driven by the 3,000 head increase in the heifer kill and the 11,000 head increase in the young bull kill for the year to date.

In the first week of November cattle prices in ROI were well below NI levels following gains made by sterling. ROI U3 heifer prices were 12p/kg lower than NI prices and the gap between U3 steer prices was wider at nearly 16p/kg. With such wide differentials some plants may be inclined to increase imports for direct slaughter from ROI.

Scottish prices are as usual the highest in GB, with 42p separating R4 steer prices in NI and Scotland. This gap was actually higher in the last week of October before the new pricing structure was introduced. On average NI steers are now 37p/kg lower than Scottish prices while Southern England steer prices are now 6p/kg ahead of NI prices on average.

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