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Opinion: Selling cattle in the ring not reflecting the price that processors are giving

In this news article, UFU (Ulster Farmers’ Union) beef and lamb chair, Pat McKay, outlines how the live ring is providing better beef returns.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is raising its concerns about the declining base quotes for prime cattle and cull cows that farmers are receiving from processors, which live ring sales are outperforming.

Meanwhile, beef prices in Britain remain strong and in Europe, an already tight beef supply is forecast to become even more limited.

Since mid-May, the return farmers have been getting from meat plants for beef began to drop significantly and has been gradually declining ever since.

Our beef farmers with cattle that are ready to sell have made huge investments to produce high-quality stock for processors at this time of the year, and now they are being sold short.

Without committed beef finishers, processors would not be able to deliver guaranteed weekly beef supplies for our key markets, including Europe, which is currently experiencing a tight supply of beef.

Mart VS beef prices 

In comparison, selling cattle in the ring is not reflecting the price that processors are giving.

Good quality liveweights are selling well, and most farmers are content with the return. I urge farmers to consider selling cattle in the live ring to gain a better return.

However, not all beef producers have this option. Beef finishers closed with TB are forced to take lower prices and are suffering with prolonged costs on-farm as a result. This is totally unjust and unacceptable.

The viability of these closed beef farms is more dependent than ever on market returns and factories can and must do more to ensure beef prices reflect the costs farmers have incurred to finish cattle in sheds.

We have been in contact with the processors and are planning to meet with them to address the matter.

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