Farm-gate Prices

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 1:30 pm on 7th December 2020.

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Photo of Diane Dodds Diane Dodds DUP 1:30 pm, 7th December 2020

Thank you for the question. In many ways, agriculture was an area of policy that I looked at for many years in the European Parliament. I really enjoyed meeting and talking to the sectors right across Northern Ireland. We understand, from the published statistics, that milk prices are, on average, a little lower. Although milk prices for September were 1·59p higher than in September 2018, the average price across the period is 0·9% lower. That represents volatility and shows that the price is lower than the rest of the United Kingdom. It also represents the market and the exposure that Northern Ireland milk prices have, for example, to the commodity market. In GB, much greater supplies of milk go into the liquid market and supermarkets and producers can have longer and more stable contracts.

We understand that, for the week ending 21 November, beef prices are 13·2% higher than for the same period last year.

That is a difference of £150 per finished head of cattle and is a significant uplift in beef prices. In fact, we probably are third in the EU league table for beef prices. Nevertheless, and again from a processing point of view, this is typically a low-margin process where issues of competitiveness and productivity are hugely important.

Pig prices have remained much the same, and —