Base quotes on prime cattle remain unchanged for the sixth successive week, as the beef trade remains on a steady but firm footing.

Plants continue to quote 392p to 394p/kg for U-3 grading cattle.

But prices continue to run well ahead of this level, as most reports continue to indicate 400p/kg is widely available as a starting base.

Price deals on steers are generally 400p to 404p/kg, with more regular finishers securing an additional 2p to 4p/kg, depending on numbers available.

Farmers offloading heifers are faring marginally better, with regular finishers securing an additional 2p to 4p/kg over steer prices.

At the top end of the market, butcher-type heifers are running above the 410p/kg mark, with wholesalers extremely competitive for numbers.

Young bulls meeting carcase specifications for UK retailers continue to move off farm around 398p to 400p/kg, although there are deals on offer to regular finishers that sees bulls matching steer and heifer prices.

Last week, the average price paid on steers and heifers averaged 393.02p/kg across all grades, a drop of almost 1.5p/kg week on week.

However, prices on U3 steers increased by 3.2p to 405.2p/kg, with young bulls also rising by 2.2p to 398.2p/kg. Heifers at the outlined grade eased by 0.2p to 406.9p/kg.

Imports of Irish cattle for direct slaughter at local plants increased by 95 head to 535, of which 364 were prime animals and 171 were cull cows.


Processing demand for cull cows is also robust, with good-quality suckler types in demand. Base quotes on R3 cows remains on 312p/kg with O+3 animals on 302p/kg.

However, with factory agents keen to source numbers and an extremely strong live trade for heavy fleshed cows, processors continue to offer prices well ahead of base quotes.

Good-quality R grading cows are making 330p to 340p/kg, with O grading cows making 310p to 320p/kg. Last week, prices paid on R3 cows averaged 332.2p/kg.

NI sheep: fat lamb trade steadies

Buying demand for fat lambs in the live trade has steadied, with some upward movement in Rathfriland on Tuesday evening.

Factory quotes are steady at 480p/kg, making lambs worth £100.80 at the 21kg deadweight limit.

In Kilrea, 520 lambs sold from 428p to 467p/kg, no change on last week. Heavy Suffolks at 28kg made £108, with 25kg at £100. Lambs at 23kg sold to £99.50 for Texels. Store lambs at 17kg made £76.

Massereene sold 811 lambs from 430p to 462p/kg, no change on the week.

Saintfield sold 655 lambs from 425p to 465p/kg, down 5p/kg on last week.

Heavy lambs at 27kg made £117, 25kg made £103, 24kg made £104, with 22kg from £97 to £100.

Rathfriland had a show of over 900 lambs, with prices up by £2 and £3/head and the best pens making £106.

The first shows in Ballymena on Wednesday had 24.5kg making £104, 23kg at £103, 21.5kg made £93, 21.5kg at £93 and 20kg at £88.


Demand for fat ewes remains robust. The best ewes in Massereene made £140, with others from £100 to £138.

In Saintfield, ewes made £155, with the main run from £100 to £145. In Rathfriland, the top was at £158.

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