The MartBids database shows a slight correction in prices almost across the board this week, but it comes off the back of a very strong performance in the previous seven days.

That being said, there have been reports of plainer cattle and those further away from slaughter being that bit harder to sell over the past few days.

Friesian bullocks, as well as some lesser-quality Angus and Hereford diary-crosses, seem to be bearing the brunt of this reduction.

Bullocks weighing between 400kg and 500kg averaged €2.28/kg this week, back 4c/kg on the previous week. However, those in the bottom third are back by 11c/kg to an average of €1.79/kg.

Costly indoor finish or go back to grass

As outlined by Teagasc this week during its winter finishing event in Kilkenny Mart, this stock class will either need a long and costly indoor finishing period or will have to go back to grass for a partial third grazing season.

Looking solely on a per-head basis, this third grazing season makes most financial sense, reducing the breakeven beef price from €6.29/kg for slaughtering in April to €5.17/kg by June.

However, keeping these animals for longer may affect stocking rates next year, so on a per-hectare basis, this differential may be much smaller..

Bullocks at heavier weights continue to be a strong trade, albeit slightly back on last week, but generally in line with where they have been over the last month.

Bullocks from 500kg to 600kg averaged €2.47/kg, while those over 600kg averaged €2.53/kg, down 7c/kg, with perhaps the beef processor move to try to reduce beef price over the past week playing on some buyers’ minds.


Heifers are similar to last week and although the table shows a 25c/kg drop for the top third of heifers over 600kg, this is primarily to do with specialist breeding sales last week which bumped up the average figures.

The average heifer over 500kg is trading from €2.65/kg to €2.70/kg in most cases, while the top third of heifers are commanding 30c/kg to 40c/kg above this.


After a couple of larger show and sales last week, weanling prices have settled back to more typical levels this week.

Trade is positive for good-quality stock, with bulls over 300kg making €3.20/kg to €3.30/kg, while heavier bulls over 450kg are still making €3/kg for the best-quality lots.

Heifer weanling numbers remain small compared with bulls, but trade is still quite good. Nice-quality continental weanling heifers from 200kg to 300kg are making from €3.20/kg to €3.30/kg, while at heavier weights, the price per kilo is actually higher, with the top third trading from €3.30/kg to €3.40/kg in most cases.

Cow trade

The buoyant cull cow trade looks set to continue, with Kepak’s Jonathan Forbes telling those in attendance in Kilkenny on Tuesday evening that much of the increase in beef price over the last six months has been driven by consumer demand for mince, burgers and meatballs as they “trade down” from more expensive steak cuts.