The Ulster Farmers’ Union has called for an investigation into lamb prices in the province as it claimed the differential between the province and GB was costing local producers more than £1 million.
Beef a lamb committee chairman, Crosby Cleland, said most farmers were well aware that the weak euro is one of the main causes of problems in the sheep trade across the UK this year, but said thtat lone could not explain the shortfall.
“What is yet to be explained by any of the local processors is the difference in the prices farmers receive for lambs in Northern Ireland and GB,” he said.
Since the beginning of May the price gap has on average been around 40p/kg which on a 21kg lamb equates to £8.40 per head. With more than 120,000 lambs slaughtered in Northern Ireland since the beginning of May this has left sheep farmers over £1million pounds worse off than their counterparts in the rest of the UK.
“While this is only a snap shot of two months trade, this year it’s about time our DARD Minister started asking serious questions of red meat processors in Northern Ireland as to why this has been happening at times of such difficulty for local producers,” said Mr Cleland.
“The local beef price has also come under pressure again in the last few weeks and this is despite GB prices holding up reasonably well.”