Factories have moved to apply more pressure to the beef trade this week, with some quotes dropping by a further 5c/kg in factories.

Some factories are still standing on at last week’s quotes of €5.10/kg for bullocks and €5.15/kg for heifers, but more are trying to buy bullocks at €5.05/kg this week, along with a quote of €5.10/kg for heifers.

Foyle Meats in Donegal is out in front this week with its quote of €5.15/kg for bullocks killing between 300kg and 400kg carcase weight and €5.20/kg for heifers killing out between 300kg and 400kg carcase weight.

Factory agents are reporting some grass-fed cattle coming on stream in the south of the country.

Some are also reporting that farmers, who rehoused cattle a month ago due to a shortage of grass, have cattle fit and this is adding to numbers.

Numbers of prime cattle remain tight though and look set to tighten further in the next few weeks.

The cull cow kill remains strong for the time of year, with dairy cow numbers being sent for slaughter remaining particularly strong over the last four weeks.


Cows have also seen a slight dip in price this week, with U grading cows still up at €5.00/kg and R grading cows coming in at €4.60/kg to €4.70/kg.

Factories specialising in cows and dealing through producer groups are paying up to 20c/kg higher than these quotes to secure numbers.

O+ suckler cows are generally working off €4.40/kg to €4.60/kg, while O grading dairy cows are being bought at €4.30/kg to €4.40/kg in the main.

P+3 cows are working off €4.20/kg to €4.30/kg, depending on weight, age and flesh.

The mart trade is still a good option for farmers with smaller numbers of cows, with agents still very active for heavy well-fleshed cows.


Under-24-month bulls are still working off a €5.40/kg base price for U grading bulls.

R grading bulls are coming in at €5.20/kg to €5.30/kg, while O grading bulls are being bought at €5.00/kg to €5.10/kg.

P grading bulls are working off €5.00/kg, depending on weight and flesh cover.

Under-16-month bulls are generally working off a €5.15/kg to €5.20/kg base price.

Last week’s kill came in at 32,311 animals, which was just under 500 cattle ahead of the pervious week.

The cow kill continues to increase, with 9,780 cows killed last week, up 372 head on the previous week.

The bullock kill was back slightly to 10,548 head, while the heifer kill came in at 8,700 this week, up 300 head on the previous week.

Across the water for the week ending 29 June, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) reported a strengthening of prices across all stock categories.

Bullocks came in at 478p/kg (€5.94/kg incl VAT) for that week.

With Irish prices and UK prices moving in different directions, that means the gap in market value is also moving.

There is now a gap of over €260/head on a bullock weighing 380kg between Ireland and the UK.

Irish meat exports to the UK have been steadily rising, with a 24% increase in meat exports to the UK in the period January to April 2024 when compared with the same period in 2023.

NI comment

The July bank holiday weekend means Northern Ireland plants are operating on a shorter week.

But with numbers tight, prices are holding firm. Quotes remain on 462p/kg (€5.73/kg inc VAT) for U-3 animals, although 480p/kg (€5.95/kg) is a more realistic base, with deals running 2p to 6p/kg above this level.

Cows remain a solid trade, with price deals of 370p to 400p/kg (€4.58 to €4.96/kg), depending on age and quality.