There is more urgency among cattle agents this week and most price deals are up 2p/kg as supplies show signs of tightening.

Beef markets are robust across the UK and Europe at present and indications are that processors are looking to maximise cattle throughput.

While some processors maintain they have a plentiful supply of cattle to tap in to, there are multiple reports from farmers supplying these plants stating they face no issues in getting animals booked for slaughter next week.

Base quotes are unchanged on 398p/kg for U-3 grading animals, although some plants are on a lower quote of 392p/kg.

For conventional cattle, there is an extra 2p/kg to be had for in-spec animals. Steers are generally moving off farm at 410p/kg, with 412p/kg offered to more regular finishers.

Farmers with in-spec heifers report deals of 412p to 414p/kg, with the higher price easier to come by on butcher-type animals.

The live trade is also extremely strong. Mart managers state there is a growing trend of farmers who struggle to negotiate with processors on price now choosing to sell animals through the live ring.

Last week, the average price paid across all grades of steers and heifers rose by 0.27p to 399.27p/kg.

On U3 grading animals, steers rose by 0.6p to average 409.6p/kg, while heifers were slightly firmer at 412.7p/kg.

The weekly cattle kill totalled 10,086 head, of which 7,599 were prime animals and 2,252 were cows.

The number of Irish cattle imported for direct slaughter at local plants has eased, as prices south of the border increase. Just 220 animals came north for direct slaughter last week, down by 140 head in two weeks.


Demand for cull cows is extremely firm and while quotes are unchanged at 310p and 300p/kg for R3 and O+3 cows respectively, price deals are well ahead of this level. Good-quality beef cows start on 320p/kg but deals of 330p/kg are common.

NI sheep: hogget trade starts to harden

The number of hoggets on offer in the live ring is falling, helping to steady the trade and prices on offer.

Factory quotes have improved as agents compete for numbers. Quotes are up 5p to 545p/kg, making a hogget worth £119.90 for 22kg deadweight.

Kilrea sold 500 hoggets from 498p to 524p/kg, no change on last week.

Massereene sold a smaller show of 585 hoggets in a steady trade from 483p to 514p/kg, no change on last week. Top price per kilo was 514p/kg for 21kg at £108, while 20kg made £102 (510p/kg). Top price per head was £122.50 for 27.5kg.

Saintfield sold 452 hoggets to a top of 520p/kg, no change on last week. Heavy hoggets at 30kg made to £124, 25kg made £120, with 24kg to £119 and 23kg to £115. Stores at 18kg made £93.50.

In Rathfriland, 300 hoggets sold from 487p to 526p/kg with the sale average on 500p/kg, no change on last week.


The trade for fat ewes is hitting new highs. In Kilrea, ewes sold to £226. In Massereene, the top was £170 for Rouge, with Suffolks to £165 and Texels to £134. In Saintfield, a strong trade took the top price to £232, with a big run from £140 to £198. In Rathfriland, the top was £226.

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Bulls or bullocks, factories want them all this week

Sheep price update: trade steady as she goes