It is rare to see the price paid for a U3 steer in NI ahead of the average paid in Britain, and even rarer to see beef prices in the Republic of Ireland the highest of any major global beef producing nation.

As always, the reason for this all comes back to market dynamics of supply and demand.

While beef processors in NI might like to get beef prices back into the 420s, there simply aren’t the numbers of finished cattle available locally, nor access to significantly lower-priced beef from south of the Irish border, to allow factories to take prices down.

It is a similar situation in dairy markets, where tight global supplies have driven prices upwards.

Just because costs are high does not mean no profits are being made

In the past, that would have led consumers to switch towards plant-based alternatives, but there are no cheap alternatives on the market right now.

While prices might be at record levels, so are costs, and as a result, farmers are right to be cautious about investing in their businesses at present.

However, it is also important to adjust to the new economic landscape and just because costs are high does not mean no profits are being made.

An investment that makes your business more efficient is still a good investment.

Of course, there is no guarantee that high output prices will be sustained over the winter, but at the same time, there is no indication that the market will move significantly downwards any time soon.


The big looming challenge on many livestock farmers is not costs per se, but sustaining livestock performance with average to poor-quality silage.

In the spring DAERA brought together an industry taskforce in response to rising costs.

It led to various warnings about fertiliser prices and a potential fodder crisis as farmers cut back on the amount applied.

Good growing conditions and massive first cuts mean that a fodder crisis has been averted. Instead, this industry taskforce needs to turn its attention to what best advice can be given around animal nutrition later this year.

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Quality takes a hit in first cut silage

Beef and sheep in an era of rising costs