Over the past month, the price differential between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK for R3 grade cattle has widened to as much as £50 (€59) on a 380kg animal, according to the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

It has said that the price differential has drifted from 3p/kg (3.53c/kg) to 13p/kg (15.3c/kg) over the last month.

The increase in the price difference between Northern Irish and British beef prices is becoming a growing concern for local beef producers, UFU Deputy President, Victor Chesnutt, has said.

Over the past month prime cattle prices across Britain have strengthened on a weekly basis and are currently averaging 346p/kg for R3 cattle, Chestnutt said.

“Trading conditions for farms in the UK have improves while prices in Northern Ireland have continued to stagnate.

“Local processing representative have reported improvements in the trading condition, which is due to the euro Sterling exchange rate which is favourable for processors wanting to export.”

Despite these improving conditions, Chestnutt said that local processors have to date not been prepared to pass this back to farmers.

“Once again this demonstrates that processors are working off a policy of short term gain for them and forgetting about the long term impact this has on the farmers who supply the raw materials.”

This is a growing concern trend with many still trying to recoup heavy losses from finishing cattle earlier in the year.

Earlier in the year UFU spoke about the lack of activity by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to tackle the price difference

“With a new Minister in place we expect changes in the direction DAERA policy will take, particularly in terms of trying to increase live exports from Northern Ireland.

“Since the EU referendum there has been talks about a potential trade barriers between UK and the Republic.

“DAERA need to focus on the trade barriers that already exist for local farmers seeking to trade cattle with Britain.

“Reducing red tape and promoting the live export of cattle from Northern Ireland will be essential going forward in helping to sustain local beef production,” he said.