After struggling to source cattle last week, factory agents indicate supplies are coming forward more freely in recent days which is keeping the beef trade on a steady footing.

Base quotes have benefitted from an additional 2p/kg for prime cattle, which brings U-3 grading animals to 468p/kg.

Quotes fall well short of the price deals on offer for the main run of conventional cattle with farmers indicating 484p/kg is a realistic starting price for in-spec steers and heifers.

Most reports indicate deals are generally on par to last week, with 486p to 488p/kg buying a lot of cattle.

Negotiating above this price level has become harder for farmers without the ability to offer bigger numbers or a steady supply of butcher-type heifers.

There are deals being made at 490p to 492p/kg for regular finishers, but price reports above this less frequent this week.

Young bulls are something of a two-tier trade. Where farmers have bulls meeting specification on age and certain carcase weight limits, there are deals putting animals on par with steer prices.

But, on the other hand, there are farmers reporting some factories are using those factors to their advantage and pinning bulls on prices of 470p to 475p/kg.

Last week, the average price paid on U3 grading steers rose by 1.1p to 486.1p/kg, with heifers at the same grade faring much better, jumping 5.3p/kg to average 498.8p/kg.

Prices for young bulls rose by almost 10p/kg to average 476.8p/kg.

The weekly kill saw 6,890 prime cattle processed at local plants, with a further 2,598 cows slaughtered, the highest cow kill for the year to date.


Demand for cows continues to improve and factories have increased quotes to 338p/kg for R3 animals, although that remains well below what is being paid.

Farmers with older cows indicate 365p/kg is available for R grading animals, while young animals are making upwards to 400p/kg.

NI sheep: hogget quotes jump to 575p/kg

Demand for hoggets has increased, boosting factory quotes to 575p/kg, but deals of 585p/kg payable to 22.5kg are available.

The live ring continues to thrive on competition between factory agents, with prices pushing upwards.

Gortin had a sharp trade, with hoggets sold to a top of £141 for 32kg and £140 for lots at 28kg. Hoggets at 26kg made £138 and 25kg made £131.50.

In Kilrea, 1,050 hoggets sold in a strong trade to 589p/kg, with 22kg at £129.50, 27.5kg at £155. Hoggets at 21kg made to £116.50, 19kg selling to £104 and 18kg at £120.

Markethill had a strong trade for 800 hoggets from 520p to 565p/kg, slightly firmer on last week. Heavy hoggets at 25kg made £140, 24.8kg at £138, £113 for 20kg and £122 paid for 22kg. Store hoggets were a good trade, making £85 to £99.50. In Ballymena, store hoggets sold from £80 to £105.

In Saintfield, 650 hoggets sold in a stronger trade from 515p to 570p/kg, up 10p/kg on last week. Texels at 28kg made £142, with 27kg at £137.

In Ballymena, a good trade saw hoggets from 24.5kg to 28.5kg making £130 to £137 a head. Hoggets at 23.5kg made £125, with 20kg at £112.


The trade in fat ewes is firm this week. In Gortin, fat ewes sold to £200, with a run from £114 to £154. In Kilrea, top was £164, while in Markethill, ewes topped £256, with the main run from £120 to £196. In Saintfield, top was £180, with the main run making from £100 to £173.

Read more

IFA demands new tillage incentive scheme for 2024

IFA calls for 2024 BVD testing funds amid rising costs