UFU call for £4 a kilo for beef

Ulster Farmers’ Union Beef and Lamb Chairman Ray Elkin has acknowledged recent increases in beef prices and is now is calling for £4/kg.  

Ray Elkin said, “Beef prices in recent weeks have improved due to increased demand for quality beef. Last week quotes for U3 cattle were around 356-360p/kg with higher prices available for good quality in-spec cattle.  Beef farmers have struggled with a significant rise in input costs alongside last year’s difficult grazing season and costly winter and we welcome the movement in price.  Farm gate prices have constantly failed to take account of the cost of production with recently published figures showing that direct costs alone amount to £3.82/kg for suckler beef. We have consistently highlighted to processors that producing below the cost of production is not sustainable in the long term and unless this changes the cattle supply will not be there.”

“Following the recent horsemeat scandal large retailers are now looking to source locally produced Farm Quality Assured Beef, and the Agriculture Minister has called for public procurement contracts to operate to similar standards.  Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured Beef is in higher demand and the recent price increases are now starting to reflect its real value. However, the price differential continues to frustrate our farmers. Prices in Great Britain have continued to increase with some factories offering close to £4/kg for cattle. All we are calling for is fairness and so £4/kg for Northern Irish beef should not be out of the question, particularly as the live market is reporting a strong trade with heavy beef cattle making £4/kg and being bought by factory agents.”

The UFU is urging beef producers to keep pressing for better prices now that there has been some positive movement in the market.  

Ray concluded; “I would reiterate that this must be the beginning of a sustained and significant rise in beef prices.  Producers are currently in a good selling position and I would encourage them to market their beef strongly and negotiate hard on price.”