There is little change to finished cattle prices as the bank holiday weekend means processors are working on a shorter week and can manage throughput better.

However, even though plants are operating over fewer killing days this week, there is no backlog of animals, which has helped to keep prices steady.

Base quotes are unchanged, with 460p/kg on offer at the top end of the market for U-3 grading animals.

Cattle sold through specific breed schemes are being pinned closely to this level before bonus payments apply.

For the main run of cattle sold into conventional markets, factories continue to work off starting prices of 478p to 480p/kg.

Regular finishers and farmers with a good supply of in-spec animals indicate deals of 482p to 484p/kg continue to be offered, with an extra 2p/kg more available for butcher-type heifers.

In contrast, young bulls are lagging well behind on prices, with deals in and around the 470p/kg mark ,although 4p to 6p/kg more can be secured for animals meeting age and carcase weight limits.

Looking to next week, there are signs cattle may not be as readily available, with farmers holding animals until after 1 April, when the Beef Carbon Reduction Scheme payment rises from £60 to the maximum £75.

With in-spec cattle, and heifers in particular, harder to come by in recent weeks, this may see prices hardening as factory agents potentially become more flexible with improved deals to secure numbers.

Last week, the average price paid on steers and heifers across all grades eased by 0.4p to 469.62p/kg.

Steers at U3 conformation fell by 0.9p to 481.9p/kg, whereas heifers at the same grade increased by 1.4p to 483.8p/kg. Young bulls averaged 467.3p/kg.


Quotes on cull cows are steady, with O+3 animals on a top price of 340p/kg, and R grading animals making 10p/kg more, although good suckler types continue to sell upwards from 360p/kg.

NI Sheep: Live trade hits £230 for hoggets

Hogget prices sold in the live ring hit record highs of £230 this week, pushing plants to raise quotes by 10p to 700p/kg.

However, 10p to 20p/kg more is on offer for big numbers and plants are now paying to 23kg deadweight to keep pace with marts.

The trade in Gortin set record high prices for a second week in a row with £226 for 31kg, £218 for 30kg, 27kg to £183, 24kg to £169.50 and 22kg making £156.50.

A super trade in Kilrea saw 1,200 hoggets selling from 628p to 807p/kg, up 28p to 121p/kg on last week. Hoggets at 28.5kg made £230, 30kg to £233, 31kg at £236 and a big run from 675p to 767p/kg.

Markethill had a very strong sale with 1,010 hoggets make 620p to 690p/kg, up 20p to 34p/kg. Heavy hoggets averaging 26.7kg made £166, with £194 for 34.2kg, £184 for 20.5kg, £182 for 28.7kg, 22.1kg at £148 and 20.9kg at £139. Store hoggets were a good trade making £92 to £129.

In Saintfield, 560 hoggets hit record highs of 630p to 760p/kg, up 15p to 70p/kg on last week. Texel hoggets at 32kg made £228, 28kg at £190, 27kg at £185 and a big run from £160 to £180. Texels at 22kg made £146 with 21kg to £135, 20kg to £125 and 19kg to £124.


The trade for fat ewes is strong wit lots in Gortin fat topping £290 with a run from £160 to £285. In Kilrea, top was £290, while Markethill sold to a top of £210 with the main run from £190 to £210. In Saintfield, Texels made £230 and £222 with the main run from £132 to £210.

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