A stand-off has emerged at the start of the week with factories looking to take 5c/kg out of steer and heifer prices, but meeting strong farmer resistance. As one report to the Irish Farmers Journal put it, it is a case of whoever blinks first.

While €4.05/kg for steers and €4.15/kg for heifers is still being paid, many of these deals were concluded last week. There was even one report of €4.10/kg for steers and €4.18/kg for heifers bought on Friday to kill Monday.

However there are also reports that factories are settling for a lower kill rather than paying this rate. Where deals are done this week, the vast majority are at €4.00/kg for steers and €4.10/kg for heifers where farmers are keen to sell.


The factories are also looking to take money out of cows but reports suggest that they are finding it harder to drop cow prices.

Where factories are anxious for cows, top quality heavy 380kg cows grading U or R, are making €3.60/kg and even €3.70/kg for the top quality continental type cow that is well finished.

The overall cow trade is still returning €3.50/kg to €3.55/kg for R grading cows while O+ cows are making up to €3.45/kg while plainer O grading cows and Friesians are making €3.25/kg to €3.30/kg.

P grading plain cows are selling at around €3.20/kg.


Bulls continue steady with U grades making €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg with R grades 5ckg less at €4.00/kg to €4.05/kg.

Friesian bulls remain a particularly strong trade with factories that are in this market with up to €4.00/kg being paid though the main range of prices for decent numbers in the €3.90/kg to €3.95/kg.

Young bulls up to 16 months on the grid are tracking steer prices mainly back 5c/kg at €3.95/kg to €4.00/kg.

Northern trade

The picture is similar in Northern Ireland with factories pushing to cut prices but with varying success in doing so.

Again there is a wide spread of process depending on numbers and suitability of stock being offered.

The starting point remains £3.50/kg though £3.56/kg is still widely available which at Monday’s exchange rate of 88.2p to the euro works out at €4.25/kg when vat at 5.4% is included.

Deals are still made into the £3.60’s though the top of £3.70/kg that was reached last week (€4.42/kg including VAT) is more difficult to secure so far this week.

The cow trade remains similar at the start of the week in Northern Ireland. A price of £2.60/kg to £2.70/kg, equivalent to €3.10/kg to €3.21/kg, is the going rate for plainer O grading cows while better O grading cows are reaching £2.90/kg (€3.47/kg) and top quality R grading cows are making up to £3.00/kg (€3.58/kg).

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