The price difference between British and Irish heifers dropped to the lowest it has been so far in 2017 in the week ending March 26, figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) show.
Farmers in the Republic of Ireland received a price of 391.2c/kg for an R3 grade heifer, an increase of 6.4c/kg from the 384.7c/kg paid in the week ending February 26.
British heifer prices dropped by 12.6c/kg in the space of four weeks – meaning farmers were paid the equivalent of 406.5c/kg for an R3 grade heifer.
The British/Irish heifer price difference fell to 15.3c/kg, the lowest it has been so far in 2017.
This occurred in a week when the euro was trading at 86.6p, according to the LMC.
In the week ending March 26, the EU average R3 heifer price fell slightly to 382c/kg.
This meant that the Irish heifer price remained 9.2c/kg above the EU average; it also jumped from eighth to seventh in the EU heifer price league table.
Meanwhile, British heifer prices dropped to third in the league table; the differential between British heifer prices and the EU average narrowed from 36.7c/kg in the week ending February 26 to 24.5c/kg a month later.
The north/south heifer price difference also reached record lows for the year to date, equalling just 12.3c/kg in the week ending March 26.
This equates to a price difference of €34.44 on a 280kg R3 grade heifer.
Farmers in Northern Ireland received a heifer price of 403.5c/kg – which placed it in fourth place in the EU league table.
The differential between the R3 heifer price in the North and the EU average narrowed from 27.2c/kg (in the week ending February 26) to 21.5c/kg (in the week ending March 26).
The margin between heifer prices in the North and Britain dropped to just 3c/kg, meaning British farmers received €8.40 more on a 280kg carcass.