Price cuts on overweight carcasses

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Farmers are being advised to book cattle in advance and ensure they “shop around” for the best deal.

The decline in farmgate beef prices is putting the agricultural industry, which is a “major contributor” to the Northern Ireland (NI) economy, at risk, according to the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Its beef and lamb chairman, Sam Chesney, has outlined that beef prices must strengthen, as farmers finishing cattle continue to suffer “heavy losses”.

He noted that prices for R-3 steers have slumped from 346p/kg this time last year to 336p/kg, stressing that neither of these prices offer a “sound foundation” for a sustainable beef industry.

“Producers have faced downward price pressure in recent months. It is now at a point where some are seriously considering the future of their family-run businesses.”

“Poor prices are undermining incomes at a time of year when costs are high. Winter finishing rations have increased from around £210 to £225/per tonne and fuel and fertiliser prices still remain high.”

“Farmers simply cannot afford to live with beef prices below the cost of production,” he added.

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