Processors are looking to tighten their grip on the beef trade and have reduced base quotes by 4p/kg. That puts U-3 cattle on 464p/kg at the upper end of official quotes, although some plants are working on lower quotes of 456p/kg.

Cutting quotes has caused anger among farmers finishing Angus cattle, as bonus payments are made on top of official base prices.

Along with reduced quotes, farmers booking cattle for next week indicate factory agents are reluctant to commit on price in advance of animals being slaughtered.

Instead, promises are being made to farmers that they will be looked after and agents will do their best to get the strongest possible price.

Talk of a slowdown in the trade is also common, but that is somewhat undermined by factory prices in Britain continuing to trade above 500p/kg.

But while factories talk the trade down, prices reported by farmers offloading cattle this week indicate little change to the deals on offer.

Steers and heifers start around 484p/kg, with 486p to 488p/kg securing the majority of cattle coming on to the market.

Prices above these levels are difficult to come by and reserved for specialist finishers.

Young bulls are moving close to official base prices, although deals are available above 470p/kg on animals meeting certain weight limits.

Farmers finding it hard to negotiate on price and are not under movement restrictions should note the live ring continues to return prices from 280p to 300p/kg for good-quality animals. That equates to deadweight prices of 490p/kg and above at 57% kill-out.


While prime cattle quotes have eased, factories have improved quotes on cull cows, with O+3 animals rising to 332p/kg and R3 cows making 5p to 10p/kg more.

However, deals continue to run well above these levels.

Young suckler-bred animals are making from 380p to 400p/kg, while older beef-bred cows are on starting prices of 360p to 3705p/kg, depending on quality.

NI sheep: hogget quotes jump to 590p/kg

A strong live trade is setting the pace on hogget prices this week, with heavy lots making up to £152 and a big run from £140 to £150.

To keep pace, plants have increased quotes by 15p to 590p/kg and are offering deals of 600p to 610p/kg, making hoggets worth £137 at the 22.5kg weight limit.

Gortin sold hoggets to £147 for 25kg, £146 for 26.5kg, 24kg to £137, while 21.5kg made to £123.50.

A strong trade in Kilrea saw hoggets make 533p to 588p/kg, with 20kg at £117.50, 21kg at £122 and 22kg at £127.50. Heavy hoggets at 29.5kg made £152, with 25kg to £144 and 24kg to £134.

Markethill had a strong demand for 850 hoggets making 530p to 595p/kg, up 10p to 30p/kg on last week. Heavy hoggets at 24.5kg made £140, 24.1kg at £137, £125 for 21kg and £116.50 for 20kg.

Store hoggets were a good trade from £97 to £106. In Ballymena, store hoggets sold from £84 to £115.

In Saintfield, 540 hoggets sold in a sharper trade from 550p to 599p/kg, up 35p/kg on last week. Hoggets at 32kg made £146.50, 26kg at £144.50, with a big run from £132 to £143.50.

In Ballymena, hoggets at 28kg made £157, with a big run between 25kg and 26kg selling to £148.


Fat ewes were a solid trade, with Gortin selling to £215 and a run from £114 to £190. In Kilrea, top was £226, while in Markethill, ewes made £180, with the main run from £110 to £164. In Saintfield, top was £275, with the main run from £112 to £230.

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