The beef trade continues to ride on the crest of a wave at the moment, with no real change on quotes this week.

Demand is very firm, with factories continuing to pull all the strings they can to get cattle into factory lairages.

A couple have even tried the oldest trick in the book, get it out there that cattle price is going to drop trying to convince farmers that now is the time to sell.

Heifer prices

Heifers are generally being bought at €4.30/kg to €4.35/kg this week.

Foyle Meats is still on €4.40/kg when all bonuses have been included on carcasses between 300kg and 400kg and this has put pressure on some of the factories situated in the northern half of the country to follow suit and some have had to move to €4.40/kg just to get cattle.

Further south, heifers are being bought at €4.30/kg. Bullocks are generally being bought at €4.25/kg to €4.30/kg base price, with a little bit more going where numbers are involved.

Flat deals are still as popular as ever, with as high as €4.75/kg being paid for Aberdeen Angus cattle this week.

Flat deals of plainer Friesian types have also been done at €4.50/kg all-in price.

If working off the grid, bonuses of as high as 15c/kg are available for Herefords, while 25c/kg is available for Aberdeen Angus in-spec animals.

Cow trade

The cow trade also remains in a positive position, with a high of €4.00/kg being paid by some factories to secure U grading cows.

R grading cows are trading between €3.80/kg and €3.90/kg, with O grading cows coming in at €3.70/kg to €3.75/kg, depending on flesh and quality.


Under-24-month U grading bulls are moving at €4.30/kg to €4.40/kg, while R grading bulls are at €4.25/kg to €4.30/kg.

Under-16-month bulls are working off €4.20/kg to €4.25/kg base price on the grid.

Last week’s kill came in at 31,099, up 920 head on the week before.

The biggest rise came in the bullock kill, with 1,041 extra bullocks killed last week compared with the week previous.

The cow kill has also remained strong, with last week’s kill coming in at 7,335 head.

Positive update

Bord Bia’s beef market update, released last week, was very positive.

Global supply of beef is down and China is driving demand with a 20% increase in beef imports for the first five months of 2021.

Closer to home, European beef production is forecast to be down by 2%, with the UK forecast to be down 5%.

IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden said: “Reduced volumes of imports in our key markets and strong beef purchasing at retail and food service level, where it is open, is driving the trade.

“Supplies are tight, with almost 60,000 less cattle processed to date this year and predictions for 120,000 less cattle available for the year.

“Prices in our key UK and EU markets have turned the corner and have shown steady increases over the past few weeks, which is strengthening market conditions for our beef exports.”

NI comment

With two bank holidays in Northern Ireland this week, factories are operating on a shorter kill week.

This has made it much easier for cattle agents to source numbers and manage throughput.

Base quotes are steady on 392p/kg (€4.86/kg inc VAT) for U-3 grading animals.

Most cattle are coming from regular finishers, so deals continue to run from 400p up to 410p/kg (€4.96 to €5.08/kg) for in-spec animals.

Demand for cull cows is still strong and quotes are up 10p to 300p/kg (€3.72/kg) for R3 animals, with deals starting from 320p/kg (€3.97/kg).