Despite a temporary closure at one processing plant earlier this week, the beef trade remains on a steady and firm footing.

Factories have left official base quotes unchanged, which keeps U-3 grading animals on a top quote of 394p/kg.

Prime cattle meeting carcase specifications for the UK retail market continue to move off farm from an opening price of 400p/kg.

Angus cattle that qualify for premiums under the various breed schemes are being purchased at the official base quotes

Steers are being bought at 402p to 404p/kg, with heifers moving around the 404p to 406p/kg mark, although there is a bit more room to bargain on price where butcher-type heifers are on offer.

Angus cattle that qualify for premiums under the various breed schemes are being purchased at the official base quotes, as are out-of-spec cattle exceeding carcase weights.

Factory agents report that supplies coming on to the market are plentiful at present, allowing processors to have orders filled for the week ahead.

Increased supplies are being reflected in the weekly kill at present and although factories continue to experience staffing shortages, they are managing to handle the higher throughput.

Last week saw 9,746 cattle processed, according to DAERA statistics, making it the highest weekly kill figure for the year to date.

Imports from the Republic to local slaughter plants have slowed, with 351 animals shipped north last week.

This represents a drop of 152 head on the previous week, making it the lowest weekly import figure since mid-May.

With a 20p/kg price differential in favour of abattoirs in Britain, there were 41 cattle shipped from NI for slaughter across the Irish Sea.

Prices paid across all grades of steers and heifers rose by 0.3p to 393.18p/kg. For U3 steers, prices rose by 0.5p to 402.8p/kg, with heifers jumping by 3.5p to 406.5p/kg.


Base quotes on cull cows remain on 312p/kg for R3 animals and 302p/kg for O+3 cows, with most price deals for suckler types running between 330p and 340p/kg.

NI sheep: strong live trade continues

The live trade for fat lambs remains positive, with several marts recording higher prices this week. Plants are being forced to react to secure numbers and quotes are up 15p to 500p/kg, making lambs worth £105 for 21kg deadweight.

In Kilrea, 600 lambs made 447p to 538p/kg, up 14p/kg for the main run.

In Massereene, 903 lambs sold from 440p to 480p/kg, marginally higher on the week. Top prices saw 22kg make £101.50, 23kg at £103 and 25kg to 28kg on £109 to £115.

The trade in Saintfield saw 742 lambs making 445p to 525p/kg, up 5p/kg for the main run. Heavy lambs from 26kg to 28kg made £111 to £118, 24kg and 25kg sold to £110. Lambs at 22kg made to £103 with stores at 18kg to £94.50.

In Ballymena, Wednesday morning, 25kg and 24.5kg made £107.50, 23kg made £103 with 22kg at £100.


The trade for fat ewes was also steady this week. In Massereene, the top was £126 for Texels, with Charollais at £115 and Mules to £105. Saintfield sold to a top of £193, with the main run from £107 to £163.

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