Factory prices paid for prime cattle in 2023 are up 44p/kg year on year, according to market data compiled by the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).

From January to the end of November, U3 heifers have averaged 479p/kg, well above the 435.9p/kg average from 2022. On a 360kg heifer carcase, it equates to a difference of £155.

For R3 and O3 grading heifers, prices have averaged 474.1p/kg and 462.3p/kg respectively in 2023, up from 430.6p/kg and 418.9p/kg in 2022.

U3 grading heifer prices started this year on 461.5p/kg and gradually edged upwards, reaching a record high of 502.4p/kg on 13 May, before dropping to a low of 460.7p/kg by 19 August. Prices are up by around 9p/kg since then.


Steers have also averaged 44p/kg more in 2023 with U3 animals on 477.9p/kg, an increase from the 433.9p/kg recorded last year. It is an annual price difference of £176 for a 400kg carcase.

R3 grading steers have averaged 474.2p/kg with O3 animals at 462p/kg, up from 429.8p and 417.5p/kg respectively in 2022.


Young bulls have also seen a marked increase in prices year on year, with U3 animals averaging 467.4p/kg in 2023 compared to 423.4p/kg last year.

R3 grading young bulls are up from 418.7p/kg in 2022 to 461.1p/kg, which, similar to steers, is a difference of £176 for a 400kg carcase.


When comparing cows, the price gap is smaller than for prime cattle, but is still significant.

On R3 cows, prices paid up to the end of November 2023 have averaged 385.9p/kg, a 17p/kg increase on the 368.8p/kg recorded last year.

O3 grades have averaged 365.5p/kg, up 16p/kg from 349.5p/kg in 2022.


Factory prices for R3 grading lambs have averaged 575.35p/kg in 2023, up from 552.8p/kg in 2022. On a 21kg carcase, that makes lambs slaughtered this year worth an additional £4.74.

Read more

Five tips to move store cattle into the finishing period

Better genetics key to dairy beef success in Co Waterford