The beef trade has turned the corner, with quotes lifting another 5c/kg across the board this week on the back of reduced supplies and solid demand in Irish beef markets.

Bullocks are working off a €5.10/kg base price, with €5.15/kg base price also being paid on a number of occasions this week to regular customers.

Heifers also took a lift, with €5.15/kg base price now the floor for heifers and €5.20/kg going in a number of outlets when pressure is applied.

There continues to be a wide range in bonus payments being paid out for Hereford and Aberdeen Angus cattle, with between 10c and 30c available depending on the group and factory you are dealing with.

The advice to any farmer with cattle to sell in the next few weeks is to bargain hard and price around for the best deal.

Factories are moving out of their own circles and willing to do deals with farmers who have cattle to kill.

Use the current tightening in supplies to your advantage and don’t leave it easy for them to buy cattle.


In factories, U grading cows are still up at €5.10/kg, with R grading cows coming in at €4.60/kg to €4.80/kg.

O+ suckler cows are generally working off €4.50/kg to €4.60/kg, while O grading dairy cows are being bought at €4.50/kg in the main.

P+3 cows are working off €4.00/kg to €4.20/kg depending on weight, age and flesh.

Factory agents and wholesalers continue to pay big money for well-fleshed heavy cows in marts and farmers with small numbers of cows to sell are probably better off in the mart at the moment. It’s worth weighing it up as an option anyway.


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

R grading bulls are coming in at €5.25/kg to €5.30/kg, while O grading bulls are being bought at €5.10/kg to €5.15/kg.

P grading bulls are working off €4.95/kg to €5.05/kg, depending on weight and flesh cover.

Under-16-month bulls are generally working off a €5.05/kg to €5.10/kg base price, with factories a little more anxious for supplies for the rest of this week.

Last week’s kill came in at 30,692, a drop of over 500 head on the previous week’s kill of 31,208.

This week’s kill will remain lower due to the bank holiday Monday, but all eyes will be on next week’s kill, with the thought in the industry that the kill will drop even further.

Grass cattle still haven’t started to appear, with a delayed spring affecting June finishers. Shed cattle have pretty much dried up on smaller farms, so factories have been moving on to their bigger suppliers and marts to shore up supplies.

The heifer kill saw the biggest drop of over 800 head, down to 8,500 head, the lowest weekly heifer kill so far in 2024.

Across the water in the UK, beef quotes are under a little pressure, with prime beef dropping back between 2p and 3p last week.

Cows, on the other hand, remain very steady and are currently in short supply.

R4L bullocks are coming in at 490p/kg (€6.09/kg incl VAT), which is still almost 80c/kg or €300/head over the Irish price on a 380kg carcase.

The European market will also strengthen on the back of the European football championships kicking off in Germany later this month and the Paris Olympics also taking place later in the summer.

Both events will drive the manufacturing trade and are already filtering into cow prices, such is the demand for VL in UK and EU markets.

NI comment

Prices in NI have steadied, with deals of 482p to 486p/kg (€5.82 to €5.95/kg inc VAT) on steers and heifers.

Cows remain on 370p to 390p/kg (€4.53 to €4.78/kg).