NI beef output and value up in 2007

Figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) show that total Northern Ireland beef production increased last year by over 10,000t and total value was up by £20m compared to 2006.

Figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) show that total Northern Ireland beef production increased last year by over 10,000t and total value was up by £20m compared to 2006, although there was no change in farmgate price.

Total beef production in Northern Ireland increased by 10,650t to 152,590t in 2007 from 141,940t in 2006. This 8% increase was not just a reflection of increased cow beef output for the food chain (up 9% to 21,020t as prime beef production increased by 7% to 131,570t.

The increase in prime beef production was due to a 5% increase in slaughterings and an increase of 6kg in average carcase weight to 334kg.

Cow and bull slaughterings were 9% higher at 65,300 head, which offset a slight reduction of 2kg in average carcase weight to 322kg.

There was no change to the average price of prime cattle at £1.93/kg in 2007, and the average price for cows was only slightly down by 1p to £1.44/kg. The increased production volume meant that the value of prime cattle increased by 8% to £255m, while the value of cow and bull output rose 7% to £30m.

Andrew Doherty, LMC economist, said "While the total value of beef production in NI has grown in 2007, this was not due to an increase in price but to a greater volume of production. It could be argued that NI did well to maintain price when there was a 7% increase in supply, especially when the average price in Europe for R3 male cattle fell by 4% in the year. However the NI price is still a long way off the £3.20/kg calculated by the Red Meat Task Force as needed for long-term sustainability of suckler beef production by the most efficient producers."

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