The beef trade remains in a strong position, with improved quotes for most categories of cattle this week.

Bullocks are moving at €4.00/kg to €4.05/kg, with heifers moving at €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg.

Where there are mixed loads of bullocks and heifers, €4.10/kg base price is being paid to secure the cattle.

Angus bonuses of between 10c and 20c/kg are being paid on in-spec cattle.

Flat deals are also becoming more common, with €4.10/kg to €4.20/kg on offer for loads of O grading Friesian bullocks.

Depending on quality, this could be a better option than selling on the grid in the current climate.

At a base price of €4.00/kg, in-spec O-3+ bullocks will come in at €3.88/kg, O=3+ grading bullocks will come in at €4.02/kg and O+3+ bullocks will come in at €4.08/kg.

Bulls are being quoted at €4.10/kg for U grading bulls, with €4.05/kg on offer from some factories for R grading bulls.

O grading dairy-cross bulls are being quoted €3.80/kg to €3.90/kg, depending on quality and flesh.

Farmers and bigger finishers with numbers on offer have been able to squeeze another 5c/kg where factories are anxious for stock.

Under-16-month bulls are working off between €4.00/kg and €4.10/kg base price, depending on numbers available.

Cows also remain in good demand, with O grading cows now being quoted at €3.30/kg to €3.35/kg, while P+3+ cows are coming in at €3.20/kg to €3.25/kg.

Good suckler-type R grading cows are coming in at €3.60/kg to €3.65/kg, with 5c to 15c/kg more being paid for U grading cows, depending on the processor.

Foyle Meats Donegal remains top dog for cows killing out between 300kg and 380kg, with reports of €3.70/kg and over being paid for R grading cows this week.


Last week’s kill came in at 29,609 excluding veal, up slightly on the week before, which was at 28,780, but this included a bank holiday.

The biggest lift came in cow slaughterings, with an extra 720 cows killed last week.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is reporting that beef prices moved up again across the water last week, with R4L steers now being quoted 409pkg (€5.02 incl VAT).

The biggest price rise came in the young bull category, with quotes up 7.7p/kg (9c/kg).

UK beef production was 5% lower in March 2021 compared with March 2020.

IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden said: “The ball is firmly at the farmers’ foot now and with finished cattle supplies getting tighter, farmers should dig in hard for increases.

“With the English price increasing again last week there is huge scope for Irish factories to increase prices paid to Irish finishers.”

Northern comment

North of the border, the beef trade has steadied this week, with prices holding firm around the 394p to 398p/kg (€4.82 to €4.87/kg inc VAT) mark for U grading animals meeting market specification.

There are a few reports of bigger finishers getting over 400p/kg (€4.90/kg). Young bulls are moving around the 390p/kg (€4.78/kg) mark for suckler-bred animals.

Cull cows are an improving trade, with quotes of 290p/kg (€3.55/kg) for R3 grading animals, although deals of 310p to 320p/kg (€3.80 to €3.92/kg)are being offered for younger cows.