Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

More cattle hitting the top grades in Northern beef plants than South

Martin Ryan

A higher percentage of cattle are hitting the top grades in Northern Ireland beef plants, according to official returns for the first half of the year.

The data also reveals that Northern finishers are getting paid up to €42/hd more than their Southern counterparts for similar weight R3 grade animals.

This was on the back of an average of 12c extra per kilo, which is equivalent to €42 on a 350kg carcase.

However, Southern finishers were faring better on heifers, with an extra 7c/kg or €22/hd being paid on R3 heifers by factories in the Republic.

The figures are based on the total kill in both jurisdictions for the first quarter of 2013.

The results have been compiled by the Northern Ireland Livestock and Meat Commission and the Department of Agriculture and Food.

The classification results for the first three months of 2013 show that the kill in Northern Ireland returned 19pc U grade steers compared to just over 12pc in the South.

In contrast, there was 42pc of the Southern-based steers classified as O grade compared to 31pc in Northern Ireland.

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The number of R grade steers was also higher in Northern Ireland at 39pc compared to 36pc in the South.

The comparison of the fat score showed very little difference between the two regions. The fat score 2 animals were slightly higher in the Republic, while fat score 4s were slightly lower.

Northern Irish plants have adopted a similar automated grading system as is used in Southern plants, with animals assessed on the same range of grades in both regions.

The average price for R3 steers in the North to the end of June was €4.30/kg compared to €4.18/kg (excl VAT) in the South.

Prices have increased by just over 7pc in the North over the last 12 months.

The comparable increase south of the Border was 6.4pc.

R3 heifer prices averaged €4.33/kg in the North compared to €4.40/kg in the South.

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