It’s been another week of no change to beef quotes, as factories maintain their grip on the trade.

While factory agents continue to talk about reduced numbers on the ground, the reality is that factories continue to use their own feedlots and factory aligned feedlots to maintain supply.

The latest figures from the Department of Agriculture show that the numbers of animals being slaughtered out of controlled finishing units continues to rise.

There was 79,000 animals slaughtered out of controlled finishing units so far in 2024, a rise of 6,500 head when compared with the same period in 2023.

There were almost 10,000 head of cattle a week slaughtered from these controlled finishing units in February 2024. This means that feedlot cattle accounted for almost 27% of the weekly kill in February.

Bullocks continue to work off €5.10/kg to €5.20/kg base quotes this week, while heifers are working off a base of €5.20/kg to €5.30/kg, similar to last week’s quotes.

Foyle Meats in Donegal is paying €5.30/kg for bullocks killing out between 300kg and 400kg, with €5.35/kg being paid for heifers in the same weight range.

Bonuses of between 20c and 30c/kg remain for Hereford and Aberdeen Angus cattle.


The young bull trade is also steady this week, with €5.40/kg on the table for U grading young bulls.

Base price of €5.40/kg is also available for loads of R and U grading bulls this week.

R grading bulls are being quoted at €5.20/kg to €5.30/kg, while O and P grading bulls are being paid out at 10c/kg less.

Under-16-month bulls are generally working off €5.15/kg to €5.20/kg base price, with the 12c/kg in-spec bonus being added in along with grading for the final price.

Cull cows

Cull cows also remain a very solid trade. U grading suckler cows are still top of the market, with €4.70/kg to €4.80/kg being paid for good-quality, young well-fleshed cows this week.

R grading cows are a similar trade to last week and are working off €4.50/kg to €4.60/kg, with O grading suckler cows coming in at €4.40/kg, while P grading cows are working off €4.10/kg to €4.20/kg, depending on weight and flesh cover.


Last week’s kill came in at 30,883 head, a slight reduction of just over 1,000 head, which wasn’t a lot considering Good Friday is factored into the week.

The bull kill continues to drop, coming in at 1,657 head last week. The cow kill actually went up to 7,641 head, while the number of calves slaughtered saw a big drop to 1,021 last week, down over 800 calves from the previous week’s figure of 1,892 head.

Across the water, the beef trade remains in a steady position, with R4L bullocks coming in at 493p/kg (€6.12/kg incl VAT).

Taking a look at the Bord Bia beef market tracker, the Irish composite price is coming in at €4.89/kg, while the export benchmark price is coming in at €4.83/kg for the week ending 23 March 2024.

Further afield, U3 young bulls in France are currently trading at €5.82/kg, while U3 Italian young bulls are coming in at €5.67/kg.

NI comment

There is no change in the beef trade north of the border, with the shorter kill week keeping things steady.

Quotes remain on 460p/kg (€5.63/kg inc VAT) for U-3 grading steers and heifers, although most plants are opening on 480p/kg (€5.88/kg) and paying upwards to 486p/kg (€5.95/kg) where bigger numbers are available.

Cows are moving off farm around 360p/kg (€4.41/kg) for R grading suckler types, with more on offer for young cows.