There is a much steadier feel to the beef trade this week, with signs of factories looking to ease prices.

Some plants have cut base quotes by 4p/kg, while others left quotes unchanged.

This puts the range of quotes for U3 grading animals on 370p to 374p/kg.

Despite cuts to base quotes, farmers killing cattle indicate prices are similar to previous weeks, especially for those on a regular killing arrangement.

Farmers selling in-spec steers report deals in the region of 384p to 386p/kg, with heifers holding around 388p to 392p/kg.

Where farmers are finding difficulty negotiating on price, the live ring continues to provide a strong alternative for good-quality types, with specialist finishers remaining extremely active for numbers.

Supplies of cattle are also more readily available, with farmers looking to clear sheds for calving and lambing

Looking to next week, cattle agents are reluctant to quote until at least Friday. Reports indicate that demand for steak cuts is slowing and stocks of chilled beef are also coming back on the market.

Supplies of cattle are also more readily available, with farmers looking to clear sheds for calving and lambing. Combined, these factors are helping factories manage throughput much better.

The NI cattle kill totalled 9,007 head last week, with 6,834 prime animals processed alongside 1,963 cows.

Imports of Irish cattle for direct slaughter at local plants totalled 208, down by 121 head on the week.

Last week, the average price paid on steers and heifers slipped by 0.5p to 376.77p/kg.

The average price for U3 steers rose by 1.1p to 388p/kg, while U3 heifers rose by 2.7p to 392.5p/kg.

Young bulls marginally increased to 379.3p/kg for U3 animals.


Demand for cull cows remains solid, with base quotes for R3 cows holding at 275p/kg.

However, this continues to fall well short of what is on offer, with farmers securing deals of 300p to 310p/kg and up to 320p/kg on U grade animals.

Last week, the average price paid on R3 cows was 299.6p/kg.

NI sheep trade: hogget prices rebound

The live trade for fat hoggets has strengthened and factory quotes increased by 10p to 530p/kg, making hoggets worth £116.60 at the 22kg carcase weight limit.

In Kilrea, the trade was strong, with prices from 487p to 525p/kg, up 12p to 21p/kg on last week. Hoggets at 25kg sold to £122, 24kg at £120.50 and 22kg at £115.50. Crossbred stores at 18.5kg made £90, with Blackface stores at 19.5kg making £89.50.

In Massereene, a firmer trade saw prices from 480p to 505p/kg. Hoggets at 25kg made £122.50, 24kg made £121, 23kg made £117 and 22kg made £108.

In Saintfield, prices ranged from 470p to 520p/kg, up 10p/kg for heavier hoggets. The top price was £120 for 24kg.

In Rathfriland, prices ranged from 480p to 524p/kg, with the sale average of 493p/kg, up 8p/kg.

In Ballymena, a great pen of store Texel hoggets made £98, with Blackface at £84.50.


Fat ewes remain a strong trade, with Kilrea selling to £119. In Massereene, Suffolks sold to £118, Charollais to £116, Mules to £110 and Blackface to £62.

In Saintfield, top price was £130 and in Rathfriland, it was £152.

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