The upward surge in beef prices seems to have paused this week, with factory quotes generally around €5.15/kg to €5.20/kg for steers and €5.20/kg to €5.25/kg for heifers.

As is always the case, sellers with numbers to offer that push all of the specification buttons can usually add to this, with Foyle Donegal going 5c/kg better than the average quote but with the tighter weight range requirement between 300kg and 400kg.

Factories have also been actively buying in marts and this has driven the mart trade on for factory ready cattle over the past week.

Factory demand for Aberdeen Angus cattle is particularly strong at present, with the Irish Farmers Journal hearing that up to €5.60/kg has been paid for heifers in the past week and as high as €5.50/kg has been paid for Aberdeen Angus steers.

Young bulls are also in demand, with up to €5.40/kg to €5.50/kg being paid for U grading under-24-month bulls this week in some locations, which is 5c/kg up last week’s quotes.

R grading bulls are making €5.30/kg to €5.40/kg, again with regular suppliers often squeezing a bit more, while O grading bulls are generally being sold at €5.20/kg to €5.25/kg and P grading bulls are making up to €5.10/kg to €5.20/kg depending on how well they are fleshed.

Meanwhile, young bulls under 16 months are trading in the range between €5.15/kg and €5.25/kg on the grid.

Cow trade

The cow trade also continues strongly this week, with U grading cows being quoted at €4.60/kg to €4.80/kg.

Young cows and good-quality fleshed suckler cows are being bought at higher prices than factories are quoting and factories specialising in top-quality cows have been particularly active for them in marts. R grading cows are at €4.40/kg to €4.60/kg, while O grading cows are working off €4.30/kg to €4.40/kg.

Well-fleshed P+3 cows are trading this week at €4.15/kg to €4.20/kg, depending on weight and quality.

As always with cows in particular, finding the factory that is keen for the type of cows you have to sell is key in getting the maximum value.

Northern trade

Factory prices in Northern Ireland this week are affected by farmers holding back to get the extra £40 per head payment for cattle under 30 months that came in on 1 February.

As a result, factories are having to up their price to compensate for this and that will be out of the equation for next week.

However, with the price gap between factories in the North and Britain widening over recent weeks, there is likely to be further upward pressure on prices there.

LMC quotes for this week were £4.66/kg (€5.48/kg excluding VAT), but this is up to 20p (25c/kg) less than many sellers have been able to secure.

The main run of in-spec steers and heifers are opening around 486p/kg (€5.95/kg inc VAT), but for those farmers with greater numbers to bargain with, factory agents have had to raise the bar with 490p/kg (€6/kg) to get animals moving off farm.

Cows continue to see an uplift in demand with more farmers managing to secure deals in the region of 380p to 400p/kg (€4.65 to €4.90/kg) at the top of the market for good quality suckler types.


Prices for U4L steers in Britain were £5.02/kg (€5.91/kg excluding VAT) for week ending 27 January and overall steer price was similar to the previous week, while the numbers of steers slaughtered increased marginally.

It is clear that the strong demand from factories for beef in Britain is driven by ongoing tightness of supply.

This is also underpinning demand for Irish beef in the early weeks of 2024, despite the Irish factory kill running slightly ahead of last year.