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GB:NI Farmgate Cattle Price Differential Widens

24 November 2008

UK - In the last week a decline in the Northern Ireland price and an increase in the GB beef price has widened the price differential, especially for R4 grade steers, says a Livestock and Meat Commission news bulletin.

Official reported prices for the week ending 15 November 2008 show that the price differential for R4 grade steers in Scotland and Northern Ireland is now 43p/kg.

The closest prices have been in recent years is 3p/kg achieved in February this year when the official paid price for R4 grade Scottish beef was 245p/kg and R4 grade Northern Ireland beef was 242p/kg. Since then Scottish beef has increased by 17 per cent to 287p/kg having reached a high point in September of 294p/kg. Local R4 grade steers reached a highest price of 264p/kg in June and has fallen back to 244p/kg as reported for week ending 15 November 2008.

British Isles R4 Steer Prices 2008

England & Wales

Although Scottish beef has commanded a premium price in the market the price differential between Scottish R4 grade steers and the England/Wales equivalent has seldom moved beyond 15p/kg with England/Wales commanding a marginally higher price for two weeks in June 2008.

Twelve Week Comparison

For the 12 week period up to 15 November 2008 the average prices paid for R4 grade steers in Scotland, England/Wales and Northern Ireland were 287.6p/kg, 275.3p/kg and 253.7p/kg respectively, giving differentials of 12p/kg between England/Wales and Scotland, and 34p/kg between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

A four week average comparison shows R4 grade steers in Scotland to be getting 282p/kg, 270p/kg in England/Wales and 246p/kg in Northern Ireland. This would indicate that in GB, although Scotland is achieving the highest price, the differential (circa 12p/kg) between Scotland and the rest of GB is being maintained. However, in Northern Ireland the gap has widened from 34p/kg for the last 12 week average to 36p/kg for the last four week average.

AVERAGE R4 GRADE STEERS PRICE SUMMARY 2008
Low
High
12 week Average
4 week Average
Curr (15/11/08)
% Change (week on week)
Scotland
224
293
288
282
287
+2.2%
England & Wales
215
280
276
270
276
+2.1%
Northern Ireland
209
265
254
246
244
-1.3%

Other Grades

An analysis of all prime cattle indicate similar trends. Scottish beef has consistently obtained the highest price throughout 2008 with the exception of May-June when the average reported prices from England/Wales either exceeded or matched the prices in Scotland in the majority of categories.

Northern Ireland prices have equalled or exceeded Scottish prices on a number of occasions from February to Mid-April, predominantly with U3 and O3 grade steers, and O3 grade heifer. Since 19 April average reported Scottish prices have exceeded the average Northern Ireland reported prices in all prime cattle grades with similar trends to those for R4 steers set out above.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

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