Factories continue to maintain their grip on the trade, with no more movement on beef quotes this week.

Bullocks continue to work off €5.20/kg, with €5.25/kg being paid in some cases where numbers are involved.

Heifers are also being bought at similar prices to last week, with €5.25/kg to €5.30/kg buying most heifers this week.

Foyle Meats in Donegal continues to hold top spot, with its quote of €5.30/kg for bullocks killing out between 300kg and 400kg, with heifers at €5.35/kg for the same weights.


U grading bulls range from €5.40/kg to €5.50/kg, with R grades 10c/kg back at €5.30/kg to €5.40/kg. Regular suppliers have been able to squeeze another 5c/kg out of the market.

P and O grades are moving in the main from €5.00/kg to €5.10/kg and €5.10/kg to €5.20/kg respectively.

Under-16-month bulls are being quoted from €5.20/kg to €5.25/kg on the grid excluding the QA bonus of 12c/kg.

The young bull kill is back just over 7,000 head on the same period last year.

Cow trade

U grading cows are trading anywhere from €5.00/kg to €5.20/kg, with plants most active for top-quality cows continuing to show a keen appetite for the right stock.

Ashbourne Meats in Roscrea is paying €5.30/kg for U grading pedigree Limousin cows, provided they are presented with a pedigree Limousin cert on the day of slaughter.

R grading cows are trading from €4.80/kg to €4.90/kg. O grading cows are at €4.60/kg to €4.70/kg, with P grading cows coming in at €4.40/kg to €4.50/kg.

Most factories continue to operate at well under capacity, with a lot killing half days and three-day weeks.

The decision to reduce the days that they kill has had the effect of farmers thinking that they are flooded with cattle, when the opposite is true.

There was just over 31,000 cattle killed last week, a similar number to the week before.

When we compare this to the same week last year, the kill is back about 5,000 head.

So far in 2023, the kill is back 30,527 or 5% for the first four months of 2023. Further contraction is expected in the months ahead.

Coronation boost

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is predicting a surge in red meat sales over the next week as the coronation of King Charles III approaches in the United Kingdom and, with that, an increase in street parties and BBQs.

The queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations last year saw a 50% increase in the sale of burgers, with an extra 853,000kg of beef purchased across the UK that week.

While we haven’t seen a pre-coronation lift, it’s hoped that next week’s celebrations will clear the fridges, so stock will have to be built up again.

Beef quotes across the water have hardened again this week, with almost all categories of stock seeing price increases.

U3 heifers in England are coming in at £5.06/kg (€6.08/kg incl VAT), while U3 heifers in Scotland are being quoted at £5.13/kg (€6.26/kg incl VAT). Irish processors have been able to come in way under this price for the last few months.

The beef trade in NI continues to exceed expectations, with close to €6/kg being quoted to get finished cattle bought by processors.

The R3 steer price in NI is running 64.2p/kg (73.2c/kg) ahead of the corresponding week last year, which equates to an additional £224.70 (€256) on a 350kg carcase.

NI comment

There is a much steadier feel about the beef trade in NI this week with quotes stuck on 482p/kg (€5.77/kg inc VAT) for U-3 grading animals.

Most farmers indicate 500p/kg (€6/kg) is widely available on steers and heifers with good quality beef cows on 420p/kg (€5.03/kg).