NI takes ex­tra beef cat­tle

Irish Examiner - Farming - - NEWS - Stephen Cado­gan

Prime cat­tle ex­ports across the bor­der to North­ern Ire­land for di­rect slaugh­ter have re­cov­ered strongly since midAu­gust.

Dur­ing the six-week pe­riod end­ing Oc­to­ber 27, the trade in these cat­tle to­talled 1,441, com­pared to 590 dur­ing the cor­re­spond­ing six-week pe­riod in 2017.

But it is still only 3% of the prime cat­tle through­put in North­ern Ire­land, com­pared to more than 10% at its peak ear­lier this decade.

Beef from cat­tle born and reared in the south and slaugh­tered in North­ern Ire­land have “mixed ori­gin sta­tus”, mak­ing them gen­er­ally less valu­able to north­ern pro­ces­sors, be­cause they are ruled out of the high-value re­tailer and food­ser­vice mar­kets in the UK.

The beef pro­duced how­ever can be used to ful­fil or­ders which do not re­quire beef to be from an­i­mals born, reared and slaugh­tered in the UK. With a wider price dif­fer­en­tial re­cently be­tween the two re­gions, im­port­ing south­ern ori­gin cat­tle has be­come more at­trac­tive for NI plants to ful­fil these or­ders.

And some north­ern pro­ces­sors have busi­ness in­ter­ests in both ju­ris­dic­tions, and are Bord Bia ap­proved, which al­lows south­ern beef to be pro­cessed in the north and re­turned to the south where it can be mar­keted as Bord Bia Qual­ity As­sured.

Wider price dif­fer­en­tial draw­ing beef cat­tle north over the bor­der.

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