Base quotes on cattle are unchanged at 464p/kg for U-3 grading animals, and while farmers with limited numbers are being squeezed on price, regular finishers indicate little change to price deals.

Farmers with the option of selling live should be using this to their advantage, as reports indicate factory agents are much more flexible on price to prevent cattle being sold through marts.

The live ring is regularly returning 280p to 290p/kg on good quality steers and heifers, which equates to deadweight prices above 490p/kg.

As with last week, there are reports of supplies tightening, and factory agents are working hard to stretch out numbers into next week.

Talking the trade down and reducing prices has flushed cattle on to the market. But with supplies starting to tail off again, there are reports of agents becoming more active for stock.

Regular finishers indicate factory agents are making calls to enquire about numbers on the ground and making visits to yards to lock in supplies.

Deals for in-spec steers and heifers remain on 482p to 486p/kg, with the higher end of prices easier to secure were bigger numbers are available.

Young bulls continue to move from a base of 470p/kg and rise to 478p/kg for animals meeting specification on carcase weight, conformation and age.

Last week, the average price paid on steers and heifers across all levels of conformation fell 3p to 471.17p/kg.

For U3 cattle, steers were down 3.7p to 481.6p/kg, with heifers back 4.1p to 482.6p/kg, while young bulls eased by 1.3p to 472.8p/kg.

NI cattle are on par to prices in Britain, where U3 steers averaged 485.6p/kg last week while heifers at the same grade averaged 490.7p/kg.


Prices for cull cows are varied and heavily dependent on the quality of animals on offer. Young cows under 60 months are returning prices above 390p/kg, while older plainer cows are selling back to 340p/kg.

NI Sheep: Live trade sets the pace for lamb price

The live trade for lambs has rebounded this week with agents for cross-border and cross-channel plants paying stronger prices, up by 50p/kg or £10 to £12.

Local plants are struggling to keep pace and buying fewer lambs this week and not quoting.

In Gortin, lambs at 31kg made £191, 25kg to £190, 24.5kg to £182, 22kg at £176 and 21kg at £160.

In Kilrea, a big show of 1,100 lambs sold from 765p to 820p/kg, up 50p/kg on last week. Lambs at 22.5kg made £184.50, 22kg to £178.50, 24kg to £185 and light lots at 19kg made £148.

A firm trade in Markethill for 620 head sold from 720p to 762p/kg, up 40p/kg for heavier lots with 23.3kg at £177.50, 20.8kg at £158, 22.8 kg at £173 and £181.50 for 25.6kg with £177 for 25kg. A big sale in Saintfield saw 1,185 head make 710p to 790p/kg, little change on last week.

In Ballymena, great lambs at 21.5kg made £170, 19.5kg at £150, 22.5kg at £166, 28kg to £197 and 24kg at £190.

Fat ewes

Well fleshed ewes in the marts remain a sharp trade. In Gortin, ewes sold from £150 to a top of £232. In Kilrea, top was £270. In Markethill ewes sold from £150 to £220 with plainer types making from £80 to £130.