Supplies of finished cattle remain extremely scarce and prices keep edging upwards.

Farmers continue to report that they are still getting regular contact from agents working for competing factories.

Official factory quotes for U-3 grading animals continue to rise, bringing them more in line to actual deals on offer.

Quotes now range from 380p to 392p/kg, an increase of 4p and 6p/kg on the week.

This is benefitting animals killed under premium breed schemes, as prices are more in line with conventional cattle, once bonuses are applied to the outlined base quotes.

Most farmers selling cattle outside of such schemes continue to report deals starting from 396p to 398p/kg.

Regular finishers with a steady supply of animals to kill have secured deals of 404p to 410p/kg for in-spec steers and heifers processed at the outset of the week, bringing NI cattle broadly in line with the beef trade in Britain.

At the top end of the market, there are a few isolated reports of 415p/kg for larger finishers.

Reports on young bulls indicate that prices are generally around the 394p to 398p/kg mark, with flat-rate deals on offer for out-of-spec stock.

Last week, the average price paid across all grades of steers and heifers rose by almost 3p to 390.87p/kg.

For U3 steers, prices also rose by 3p to 402.8p/kg, while U3 heifers strengthened by 2p to 404.4p/kg.

Demand for beef is strengthening within the food service sector.

As such, imports of Irish cattle for direct slaughter at NI plants increased to 583 head, the highest weekly import figure this year.

With no differential on beef prices between NI and Britain, there were no cattle shipped from NI to British abattoirs last week.


Cull cows are improving trade, underpinned by a strong live trade.

While quotes for R3 animals are on 300p/kg, prices continue to range from 320p to 350p/kg for good-quality suckler-bred animals.

NI sheep trade: lamb prices recover after recent cuts

After two weeks of falling prices, the lamb trade has rebounded. Mart prices are up by 83p/kg, while factories raised quotes by 30p to 510p/kg. However, factory prices are running ahead of quotes just to match the rejuvenated live trade.

In Kilrea, 630 lambs made 456p to 553p/kg, up by 29p to 83p/kg. A great pen of lambs at 23.5kg made £115, 22kg sold to £105, with 21kg to £97.50.

In Massereene, 726 lambs sold from 460p to 522p/kg, up 30p to 72p/kg. Lambs at 22kg sold to £115, with 21kg to £103.50.

In Saintfield, 675 lambs sold from 477p to 545p/kg, up 47p to 75p/kg on last week. Lambs at 23kg made to £123, 22kg to £120 and 21kg to £107.

In Rathfriland, a big show of 925 lambs made 470p to 517p/kg, with a sale average of 489p/kg up 59p/kg on last week, or about £13/head.

In Ballymena, Wednesday morning, 23.5kg made £118, up £12 on last week, with 22kg making to £116 and 24.5kg at £122/head.


The trade for fat ewes is firm, with Kilrea selling to £193. In Massereene, top was £141, with others making £126 to £136.

In Saintfield, top was £185, with others from £117 to £172. In Rathfriland, ewes made £164.

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