There is a much steadier feel to the beef trade this week, as the bank holidays saw factories and marts temporarily closing.

With a shorter kill week on the cards, factory agents have found it much easier to source numbers, with the bulk of throughput coming direct from larger and more regular suppliers.

Base quotes have moved on at some plants, with several factories now on 392p/kg for U-3 grading animals.

Most animals processed this week were booked towards the end of last week and with a greater reliance on farmers operating a regular kill schedule, there is little change in prices on offer.


Cattle start moving off farm from 398p/kg with premiums on top, while others report the bulk of deals range from 400p to 410p/kg for in-spec animals.

Out-of-spec cattle are moving at levels closer to base prices and, again, there are flat-rate deals on offer from some plants primarily supplying food service and wholesale outlets.

With NI cattle prices broadly in line with those in Britain, there are reports from factory agents that the trade has reached its ceiling for the meantime.

Marts continue to report strong demand from specialist finishers for short-keep cattle

Last week, paid prices in Britain averaged 409.7p/kg for R4L steers and 409p/kg for heifers at the same conformation.

Demand for beef remains strong, both for prime steak cuts and manufacturing beef and this should help keep a floor under the trade in coming weeks.

Marts continue to report strong demand from specialist finishers for short-keep cattle, with prices holding around the 230p/kg mark for good quality lots.

At 57% kill-out, this converts to a beef price in the region of 404p/kg and on par with factory prices on offer.


Base quotes for R3 cows have moved up 10p to 300p/kg with O+3 cows now on 290p/kg.

This brings quotes much closer to the price deals on offer which typically start around the 320p/kg mark for good R grade cows.

NI sheep trade: Eid demand underpins lamb prices

With several marts closed this week, there have been bigger shows on offer at those marts that did open their doors.

But strong demand for the Eid al-Adha festival has underpinned prices, with 21kg halfweight making £110/head. Plants are keeping with a base of 510p/kg, making a 21kg deadweight lamb worth £107.10.

In Swatragh, a big show of lambs made £114 to £117 for 23.5kg, 22.5kg made £112.5 to £115 and 21kg made £104 to £110.

On Tuesday evening, Rathfriland had a big show of lambs selling to a top price of 546p/kg, up 29p/kg on last week.

Lambs at 28kg made £126 with 27kg to £125. Lambs from 24kg to 26kg made £107.50 to £109.50. Store lambs at 12kg halfweight made £63 with 16kg at £83.

In Lisahally, a very big show saw lambs at 22kg to 24kg making £100 to £105, with 25kg at £107. A few special lots made £120.


The trade in fat ewes remains very strong. The best ewes in Swatragh made £186, £185 and £175. In Rathfriland, the best fat ewes made £173 and £164, with the main run from £120 to £131. Rams sold to £128.

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