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Northern plants eye Southern stock as UK supplies crash

Atrocious weather in Britain is driving demand for Irish finished cattle.

Hazardous road conditions across Scotland, England and Wales have cut supplies to slaughter plants. In some cases, factories have only received 10pc of the cattle that were due.

The resulting shortfall in stock to be killed has had a knock-on effect on demand for beef from plants in Northern Ireland.

Agents for Northern-based plant Lindens have been buying cattle south of the border for slaughter in the North and are offering significantly improved prices for stock.

The agents are understood to have paid 320c/kg (114p/lb) late last week .

Competition from Northern agents has prompted a price rise in some factories in the Republic. AIBP Clones lifted its base price to 305c/kg on Friday, in an effort to stave off the Northern buyers.

Dunbia are understood to be paying an equivalent of 300-305c/kg for heifers, with a base of 297-300c/kg being paid for bullocks.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland (DARD) has dismissed suggestions that the regulations governing the importation of finished cattle from the Republic are under review.

"DARD is not considering any changes to the regulations relating to imports of cattle from the South," a spokesman said.

Irish Independent