Gap between Irish and UK beef price trebles
The gap between British and Irish cattle returns has trebled since last February.
Despite the fact that half of all Irish beef is exported into British markets, Irish farmers were paid an average of €188 less per 350kg steer carcase during 2013.
The price difference for heifers was significantly lower at €100 per 350kg carcase.
However, the price difference doubled during the last four months, traditionally the most important slaughter period when cattle are sold off grass.
The cost to farmers of the widening price gap amounted to at least €52m for the 347,000 slaughtered last back-end.
Farmer resentment towards the meat processors is building as the price differential reaches its highest point in over a decade.
Actual average prices paid to producers by the beef processors, compiled by the Department of Agriculture, show that the autumn steer price differential widened by nearly €150/hd and €136/hd on heifers, excluding VAT, compared to the first eight months of the year.
For the first eight months of 2013, Irish processors paid an average of 91pc of the British price for steers.