With the upcoming bank holiday weekend, processors are operating on a four-day week and, as such, cattle agents have been under less pressure to source numbers.

Despite this, official quotes have strengthened, with the best quote for U-3 grading animals moving up 4p/kg to 470p/kg, reflecting the general scarcity of finished stock at present.

Most reports indicate that price deals are broadly on par with last week.

But where farmers have the option to move stock through the live ring or there is a steady flow of cattle to come on the market in the weeks ahead, factory agents are showing greater flexibility on price.

The live ring is returning prices of 290p to 300p/kg on short-keep and slaughter-fit stock with increasing regularity, which is underpinning the trade and providing farmers with a strong alternative outlet to direct slaughter.

Where farmers are selling direct to the factories, most reports indicate 480p to 482p/kg is a realistic base price.

Steers and heifers are moving at 484p to 486p/kg, although there is 2p to 4p/kg more available for butcher-type heifers and where farmers can supply cattle on a weekly arrangement.

Young bulls are becoming a more valuable commodity and with quotes edging upwards, prices are trading around 6p to 8p/kg above the 470p/kg mark.

There are deals of 480p/kg being reported, provided bulls meet certain parameters on fat class, age and carcase weight limits.

Last week, the average price paid across all grades of steers and heifers rose by 4.3p to 472.38p/kg.

On U3 grading animals, steers increased by 2.9p/kg to average 484.7p/kg, while heifers rose by 2.5p/kg to average 485.4p/kg.


The cull cow trade has moved up a gear and prices continue to strengthen. Quotes on R3 cows has increased to 386p/kg, but should be ignored as such animals are typically making 410p/kg with official prices last week averaging 408.5p/kg.

NI sheep: factory quotes continue to rise on hoggets

The live trade for fat hoggets has strengthened this week, with prices up by 10p/kg or £2/head.

Factories have responded by raising quotes 10p/kg to a base of 550p/kg, but deals of 55op and 560p/kg are available, making a hogget worth £123 at the 22kg limit.

Gortin had a strong trade, with heavy hoggets at 30kg selling from £128 to $140. Hoggets at 26.5kg sold to £128, 23.5kg to £127, with 23kg to £123.

Kilrea sold a big show of 700 hoggets from 494p to 524p/kg, no change on last week. Hoggets at 23.5kg sold at £122, with 24kg making £124.

Saintfield had a firm sale, with 645 hoggets making 500p to 540p/kg, up 10p/kg on last week. Heavy Suffolks and Texels at 30kg made £130, Dorsets at 27kg making £129. A big run from 24kg to 27kg made £124 to £128. The best Texels at 21kg made £113.50.

In Rathfriland, a smaller show of 420 hoggets sold from 488p to 520p/kg, with the sale average on 502p/kg, up 10p/kg on last week.

There was a strong trade in Ballymena. Pens at 28kg sold to £128, 25kg to £126, with 22kg to £120 and £122.


Fat ewes remain a very firm trade. In Gortin, top price was £216, with a big run from £132 to £192.

In Kilrea, top was £194. In Saintfield, Texels sold at £210, with the main run from £128 to £183. In Rathfriland, ewes topped £250.

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