There is more of an edge within the beef trade this week, as improved weather conditions see farmers prioritising fieldwork over booking cattle for slaughter in the days ahead.

That trend has seen factory agents become much more proactive in sourcing stock, with several reports of farmers being contacted and animals being requested for the start of next week.

Some farmers were asked to supply cattle before the weekend and to entice them into selling, deals including free haulage and 2p to 4p/kg above last week’s prices were offered.

Base prices are steady, with prime cattle on 466p/kg for U-3 grading animals at the top end, with some plants officially quoting 458p/kg.

However, as has been the case throughout spring, plants are working on a starting price of 480p/kg, although factory agents are struggling to buy animals at that level.

Most reports put steers on 484p/kg with 2p to 4p/kg more on offer for regular finishers. Heifers are an easier sell and factory agents are much more flexible on price, with deals running from 486p to 490p/kg.

Young bulls are becoming more widely available as suckler-bred animals born last spring start to come on the market.

Where animals meet carcase weight limits and hit market specification on conformation, there are deals being made around 480p/kg. However, there are reports of bulls being pinned at 472p to 474p also.

Last week, the average price paid across steers and heifers of all grades rose by 2.1p to 472.8p/kg. On U3 animals, there was also higher prices paid.

Steers rose by 1.6p/kg to average 485p/kg, with heifers and bulls both rising 2.9p to average 487.4p/kg and 475.4p/kg respectively.


Cull cows are a solid trade, with most deals starting at 360p/kg for suckler types.

However, younger cows with higher conformation are a much easier sell, with deals of 370p to 390p/kg available.

NI sheep: hogget and lamb prices push on

Prices for hoggets and lambs continue to rise in the ring, lifting factory prices as a result.

Hogget quotes are up 30p to 790p/kg, but deals range from 800p to 820p/kg. Lambs are on quotes of 820p to 850p/kg, with deals of 860p to 880p/kg paid.

In Gortin, a strong trade saw lambs at 29kg make £210, 30.5kg at £209 and 27kg at £204, with the main run on £180 to £200.

In Kilrea, 500 hoggets sold from 740p to 820p/kg, little change on last week. Lambs sold from 790p to 867p/kg, up 4p/kg on last week, with 21kg at £182, 21.5kg at £185 and 22kg at £188.50.

Markethill saw 330 hoggets make 700p to 780p/kg, up 20p to 30p/kg on last week. Hoggets at 24kg made £183, 24.3kg at £184, 23.6kg made £184 with 21kg at £158.

Spring lambs sold from 800p to 858p/kg, up 40p/kg for heavier lots with 21.8kg at £187, 22kg at £186 and 21.4kg at £180.50.

Saintfield sold hoggets from 690p to 795p/kg, with lambs from 800p to 850p/kg. In Ballymena, hoggets at 30kg made £208, 25.5kg to £199, with plenty on £180 to £193. Lambs at 21.5kg made £189, with 21kg to 22kg on £183 to £188.


In Gortin, ewes topped £226, with a run from £176 to £205. Kilrea sold ewes to £270.

In Markethill, well-fleshed ewes sold from £150 to £198, with plainer types on £90 to £140. Saintfield topped £270 for ewes.

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Sheep price update: another 20c/kg added to hogget quotes