Finished cattle in Britain are making up to 30p/kg more than animals slaughtered in NI.

For the week ending 24 February, official price reports show U3 heifers in Britain averaged 512.3p/kg, with Scottish plants at 515.3p/kg.

The same animal at NI plants averaged 485.5p/kg, meaning a 360kg heifer was worth £108 more if processed at an abattoir in Britain.

On U3 steers, prices at NI plants averaged 483.3p/kg compared to 508.5p/kg in Britain. On a 400kg carcase, that leaves NI farmers worse off by £102/head.

A gap of 28p/kg exists in favour of young bulls in Britain, with a similar differential in place on cull cows.

Price trend

A differential in prices between NI and Britain is not unusual, despite the beef being sold in the same market. But in recent years, the gap has narrowed towards price parity in early spring, before widening again in summer.

However, that is not the case in 2024, with NI plants currently paying 474p/kg to 486p/kg, which is similar to last March.

In Britain, plants continue to pay around 510p/kg, an increase of almost 20p/kg year on year.

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