Price comparisons compiled by the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) show prices for R3 steers and heifers are higher in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) when compared to the UK.

For the week ending 7 January, R3 steers in ROI averaged 470.6p/l when converted to a sterling equivalent. Irish heifers at the same grade averaged 476p/kg.

In comparison, NI steers and heifers averaged 457.5 and 455.5p/kg respectively during the same week, virtually the same as the prices paid in Britain.

It is a significant turnaround in the ROI beef trade – in early November prices for R3 steers in ROI were 46p/kg behind NI, and nearly 60p/kg behind reported R3 prices in Britain.

However, there are a couple of points to note when comparing prices and it is not just a case of converting Euro to Sterling using the prevailing exchange rate at the time.


Most farmers in ROI are not VAT-registered and receive a flat-rate compensation of 5.4% on sales to allow for the VAT they have not been able to claim back on purchases. This 5.4% is built into the reported beef price, and at current prices adds approximately 25p/kg.

In addition, beef carcases in ROI are still trimmed to the EU reference specification, which differs slightly to the UK reference specification used in NI over the last 15 years. In NI, processors are allowed to trim flank and brisket fat before the weigh scale. When comparing prices north and south, the LMC multiply the ROI price by 1.006 to bring it into line with NI. This currently adds about 3p/kg.

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