Beef prices in Northern Ireland 'propping up UK supermarkets'
BEEF prices in Northern Ireland are "propping up UK supermarkets" according to a leading lobby group.
The National Beef Association (NBA) said beef finishers in the north are paid less than for comparable animals in Britain.
And a further drop in price is expected in the new year.
The NBA is a UK-wide body representing the views of beef processors and farmers.
Oisin Murnion from the organisation said production costs in Northern Ireland are higher than in Britain due to farm sizes.
“There are serious concerns that the price of beef is falling through the floor and it’s expected to fall further after Christmas,” he said.
“Farmers here produce to the highest standard, higher than elsewhere in the UK, but we receive 40p/kg less on average than counterparts in England for same cattle, according to AHDB figures.
“We can’t be the bread basket of Britain at inferior prices, effectively propping up share investment for the Big Four supermarkets’ shareholders with the sweat of our brows.
“Cull cows from the dairy industry are dragging the beef price down in the Northern Ireland or UK9 beef market.
“If meat plants are truly interested in the future of cattle trade they need to ensure a decent price is maintained to high quality suckler producers for both suckler cows and beef cattle.”
Headquartered in Hexham, the NBA is the leading lobby group for the UK beef industry and has regional councils across Britain and the north.
Around 2 million cattle are slaughtered in the UK annually for their meat.