Processors continue to show plenty of appetite for finished cattle across Northern Ireland and the trade in general remains extremely positive, despite little change to base quotes or price deals.
At the upper end of the base quotes, plants are offering 392p to 394p/kg for U-3 grading animals.
Farmers with cattle to sell indicate that prices for steers and heifers start around 400p/kg, with plenty of animals moving from 402p to 406p/kg.
Farmers killing cattle on a more regular arrangement report deals of 408p and 410p/kg on offer. At the top end of the market, 415p/kg has been reported for larger supplies of butcher-type heifers.
Some plants are offering flat-rate deals on out-of-spec cattle
Farmers offloading young bulls indicate prices of 398p to 400p/kg on offer, with bonuses available at some plants for in-spec animals.
Some plants are offering flat-rate deals on out-of-spec cattle, with no penalties applied to animals exceeding normal carcase weight limits.
While processors are hungry for stock, some plants are experiencing issues with staff having to self-isolate.
Ultimately, this is impacting on throughput and, as such, some farmers have seen animals booked for slaughter pushed back into next week.
The price paid on steers and heifers averaged 394.61p/kg across all grades last week
With factories closed for the bank holidays last week, the NI cattle kill slipped to its lowest level for the year to date at 6,742 head, of which 5,220 were prime animals and 1,396 were cull cows.
The price paid on steers and heifers averaged 394.61p/kg across all grades last week. On U3 grading animals, steers averaged 402.4p/kg, a rise of 1p/kg on the week.
Heifers at the same grade averaged 407.2p/kg, down 2p/kg on the week, with young bulls averaging 397.6p/kg.
The trade for cull cows is gaining momentum and some plants have increased quotes to 310p and 312p/kg for R3 animals, with O+3 cows on 300p/kg.
However, this falls well short of the deals on offer, with 330p to 340p/kg paid for good-quality suckler types.
NI sheep trade: increased supply sees major price cuts
With marts reopening after last week’s holidays, there are bigger numbers on offer. This has put the lamb trade temporarily under pressure, but prices are expected to harden.
Factory quotes are down 40p to 470p/kg, making a 21kg carcase worth £98.70.
In Kilrea, lambs sold from 408p to 467p/kg. Lambs at 27kg made £107, 22.5kg made £96.50 and 21.5kg made £91.
Massereene sold 1,183 lambs from 410p to 435p/kg. Saintfield sold 1,012 lambs from 400p to 447p/kg. Lambs at 27kg made £110, 24kg made £97 to £104 and 22kg made from £89 to £91.
In Rathfriland, lambs sold from 400p to 493p/kg. The sale averaged 434p, down 45p/kg on last week.
Lisahally sold lambs at 21kg to £90, 22kg made £95 to £96 and 24kg made £98 to £102.
In Ballymena, 25kg made £100 to £102, 24.5kg made £98 with 22.5kg selling to £92; 22kg to £91 and 21.5kg to £89.
The trade in fat ewes remains firm. The best ewes in Kilrea made £142 and in Massereene, ewes made £144.
In Saintfield, top was £175, with the main run from £100 to £150. In Rathfriland, top was £142.