Analysis of the MartBids database shows the average price for dry cows has increased by 46c/kg on average compared with January 2022.

On a 650kg cow, this equates to an additional €300 on the sale price.

For heavy suckler-bred cows, this price lift is even greater – in excess of 55c/kg, putting an additional €410/head on a 750kg suckler cow.

Demand for manufacturing beef is very strong at the moment, as consumers continue to trade down to cheaper cuts, such as mince, burgers and meatballs.

This, alongside the increased presence of Northern Irish buyers ringside in recent weeks, has helped to push the cow trade into overdrive.

Cow numbers coming forward for sale are quite strong, accounting for 19% of total sale figures. This is up slightly for the time of year, with dry cows in January 2022 and 2021 comprising 14% and 15% of the total sale respectively.

Whether this rise in numbers is simply due to farmers reacting to a strong market or if some were holding on to cows as they awaited details of the now sidelined suckler cow scrappage scheme before offloading numbers remains to be seen.

Overall, it sees the average dry cow making €2.09/kg this week, up 2c/kg on the previous seven days.

Within this, dairy cows are averaging between €1.80/kg and €1.90/kg, while at the bottom end of the trade, lighter and poorer-fleshed types are moving from €1.25/kg to €1.45/kg. Well-fleshed dairy cows are making €2.10/kg up to €2.20/kg in places.

The bottom end of sucklers are making just below €2/kg, while the average is typically between €2.30/kg and €2.40/kg.

The top third of suckler cows with good conformation and carrying significant flesh are trading from €2.60/kg to €2.80/kg for the most part, with exceptional lots breaking €3/kg.


Heavy bullocks are up again this week by 6c/kg on average. The only red arrow on the steer table is at the very top of the trade, which is down ever so slightly but remains in good territory at €3.15/kg.


It is a similar story for heifers with prices up 6c/kg on average across all weight categories. Within this, lighter weight heifers have seen the biggest price increase, with those from 400kg to 500kg up 8c/kg or by €32/head to €40/head to an average price of €2.70/kg.

Heavier heifers from 500kg to 600kg are averaging €2.85/kg, while those over 600kg are a little stronger at €2.87/kg. This puts average 650kg heifers at €1,865/head or a beef price equivalent of around €5.42/kg.


Heavy weanling bulls are the only category of stock that are down across all quality types this week, back 12c/kg on average to €2.79/kg. However, overall numbers within this weight band remain very small, so individual sales have a big influence on the overall price.

Lighter weanlings, of which there are decent numbers being offered for sale, have seen a price increase this week across both bulls and heifers.