Official quotes on prime cattle increased by 2p/kg this week, putting the range of base prices for U-3 grading animals at 460p to 468p/kg.

Factors aiding the uplift in quotes include improved demand for manufacturing beef, with events such as the Euro 2024 football championships expected to boost domestic sales of striploins and burgers.

Numbers coming on the market are in line with processing demand, but there are signs processing demand will temporarily increase later this month and factory agents are keen to lock in numbers.

That has strengthened the hand of farmers with a good supply of cattle to sell, putting them in a much stronger position to negotiate for higher prices.

Most reports indicate the majority of steers and heifers are moving off farm at prices of 486p to 488p/kg, with 490p/kg on offer for a steady supply of in-spec animals.

Higher prices are available, but are limited to finishers with bigger numbers delivered on a weekly arrangement.

Young bulls are moving at prices of 480p to 486p/kg for animals meeting age, conformation and weight limits, whereas bulls outside of these specifications are on 474p/kg to 476p/kg.

There are multiple reports of factories offering deals, such as free transport, with increased regularity in lieu of higher prices.

No penalties for animals exceeding weight limits and flat rate payment for animals sold into wholesale markets are also on the table and these deals are gaining plenty of traction.

Last week, the average price paid on steers and heifers across all grades increased by 0.8p to 476.7p/kg.

On U3 steers, prices also increased by 0.8p to 487.9p/kg, with heifers at the same grade on the same price, although this was down 1.8p/kg on the previous week.


A strong live trade is keeping a floor under cows and with improving demand for manufacturing beef, deals of 370p to 400p/kg are available depending on age and conformation.

NI sheep: lamb quotes recover as demand exceeds supply

After cuts to factory quotes last week, tight supplies and a strong mart trade has seen factories raising base prices again.

Lambs are up 30p to 800p/kg, with deals up to 850p/kg available. Hogget supplies are drying up, pushing plants to raise quotes by up to 20p to 750p/kg, although 760p/kg is freely available.

In Gortin, the trade was spectacular, with lambs at 32.5kg making £202 and 28.5kg at £191. Lambs at 30kg made £188, with the main run from £159 to £180.

In Kilrea, 500 lambs sold from 755p to 841p/kg, with 22kg at £185, 22kg at £181.50 and 22.5kg at £185.50.

In Markethill, the demand for spring lambs was firmer for the 340 head on offer. Good-quality light lambs sold to 826p for 19kg at £157, followed by 20.5kg at £167.50.

The main run of good-quality lambs sold from 760p to 807p/kg. Heavy lambs sold to £188.50 for 25kg, with 24kg at £179.50.

In the hogget ring, 180 head sold to a top of 730p/kg for 22kg at £146, with 23kg at £162. Heavy hoggets sold to £180 for 24.6kg, with 25kg at £172.50.

The trade in Saintfield saw 380 lambs selling from 715p to 810p/kg, up 5p to 30p/kg on last week. A show of 175 hoggets sold from 620p to 700p/kg, little changed on last week.

Fat ewes

The trade for well-fleshed fat ewes remains firm. A strong trade in Gortin had top prices of £238 and £220, with a run from £170 to £204.

In Kilrea, top was £182, while in Markethill, ewes sold from £140 to a top of £170, with plainer types making from £80 to £120.

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