UK heifer price improves to be dearer than Irish R3 heifers once again

The price difference between Irish and UK beef has reversed, with UK R3 heifers now dearer than similar type heifers slaughtered in Ireland.

Figures from the European Commission show that UK R3 heifers were 5c/kg dearer than R3 heifers slaughtered in Ireland last week.

This is a €14 difference on a 280kg carcass.

During the week ending May 1, UK R3 heifers traded at 407.6c/kg, while the same heifer slaughtered in Ireland made 402.6c/kg.

The reversal in the beef price gap between Ireland and the UK occurred as the UK R3 heifer price jumped by 7.2c/kg last week, while the price here remained pretty much unchanged.

Two weeks ago, figures from the European Commission indicated that the Irish R3 heifer price was 2c/kg higher than the UK price. On a 280kg heifer carcass, this was a price difference of €5.60.

UK a significant market for Irish beef

The reversal in the beef price gap may be welcomed by Irish farmers, as the UK is a significant market for Irish beef.

The UK took 52% of the beef exported from Ireland last year, according to Bord Bia.

But, the closeness of the Irish and UK heifer price is likely to have an impact on the quantity of beef exported to the UK this year.

According to Bord Bia, Irish exports to the UK have already dropped this year due to the narrow beef price gap caused by a weaker Sterling, which makes Irish cattle more expensive to UK buyers.

Northern Irish heifer price

Irish farmers are still being paid more for R3 heifers than farmers across the border in Northern Ireland, figures from the European Commission show.

During the week ending May 1, Northern Irish beef finishers were paid 387.49c/kg for R3 heifers, just over 15c/kg lower than heifers slaughtered in the south.

On a 280kg heifer carcass, this is a price difference of €42. Last week, Northern Irish heifers were €47 cheaper than heifers slaughtered south of the border.

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