Irish beef prices 44c/kg behind Northern Ireland

It has been outlined that the price currently being paid for R3 steer cattle in the Republic of Ireland is 3.42c/kg while “a few fields away” in Northern Ireland it “is 3.86c/kg – a 44c/kg difference”.

The president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), Pat McCormack, has said “Irish beef prices need to increase immediately and reflect the stronger global market for beef”.

McCormack stressed: “This inexplicable gap is clear evidence that the market in Ireland is broken and requires rectification. If the obvious price-rise is not forthcoming immediately then the regulators need to intervene.

“It couldn’t be more simple or indeed blatant: If a farmer on the border in Armagh sells an R3 steer to a Northern Ireland processor this morning, they get 3.86c/kg. A few fields away in Monaghan a similar animal in a southern processor gets 3.42c/kg which translates to €154 less for a 350kg animal.

Why is there such a difference? The only possible explanation is that someone further along the supply-chain, be it the processor or retailer, is creaming this profit at the expense of the farmer.

McCormack said that the gap between the Irish and Northern Irish price stood at 19c/kg on July 29, 2019, and today that gap has widened to 44c/kg.

He also noted that the Northern Irish price has increased by over 21c/kg since July while the Irish price has fallen by 3c/kg.

Concluding, McCormack said: “Either farmers begin to get a fair price for the beef they produce or we see the whole Irish beef sector continue to decline and enter what could be a terminal phase.”