The finished cattle trade remains on a firm footing, as processors again leave base quotes unchanged.

This keeps U-3 grading animals on a top quote of 394p/kg, although some plants continue to hold at an official base of 386p/kg.

Farmers offloading in-spec cattle continue to report processors offering 400p/kg as a starting price, with deals above this level on par with previous weeks. This keep steers moving off farm around 404p/kg, with more regular finishers indicating 2p/kg on offer.

Heifers continue to move around 408p to 410p/kg where a steady supply of in-spec animals is available from regular finishers.

There have been isolated reports that some factories were short on Angus cattle this week.

With Christmas kills over, most plants have reduced their throughput slightly

As such, there were deals offered to entice regular finishers to offload additional animals.

With Christmas kills over, most plants have reduced their throughput slightly.

This is making it easier for procurement agents to fill order books and manage throughput in the run-up to Christmas.

Where farmers with smaller numbers face lengthy delays when booking cattle for slaughter, there has been a growing trend to sell prime animals through the live ring as prices on higher conformation cattle are above those offered by factories.

Last week, the price paid across all grades of steers and heifers averaged 394.33p/kg, a drop of 0.2p/kg on the previous week.

Once again, there were no exports of cattle from NI to slaughter plants in Britain

Prices for U3 steers averaged 403.3p/kg, which was identical to the R3 steer price. For U3 heifers, prices paid averaged 407.9p/kg, down 1.8p/kg on the previous week.

Imports of Irish cattle for direct slaughter at local plants increased by 53 head to 328. Once again, there were no exports of cattle from NI to slaughter plants in Britain.


Demand for cull cows is variable, with some plants more active than others.

Base quotes for R3 animals remain on 290p/kg, with 280p/kg for O+3 cows, but deals of 320p/kg are on offer for good-quality suckler types.

NI sheep: base quotes rise to 575p/kg

The market for fat lambs has improved this week, with plants increasing quotes to 575p/kg, making a lamb worth £126.50 for 22kg.

In the marts, lambs were a steady trade, with small increases on Tuesday. Heavy lambs in particular are a strong trade.

In Kilrea, a big show of 730 lambs sold from 508p to 566p/kg, little change on last week. Lambs at 26.5kg made £130, 24.5kg at £125.50 and stores at 19.5kg made £103.50.

Massereene sold 586 lambs from 500p to 550p/kg, little change on last week. Lambs at 23kg sold for £127.50, 22kg at £117.50 and 21kg to £118.

Heavy lambs were a strong trade, with 30kg selling at £134, with 24kg to 27kg making £128.50 to £134.

Saintfield sold 505 lambs from 511p to 580p/kg, up 6p/kg for heavier lots. Heavy lambs at 30kg sold to £127, 26kg to £130, 24kg to £126 with 23kg to £121.50. Store lambs at 19kg sold to £107.50.

In Rathfriland, a small show of 332 lambs averaged 529p/kg, up 3p/kg on last week.


The trade for fat ewes is holding firm. In Massereene, Charollais ewes sold to £144, Suffolks to £132, Mules to £115 and Blackface to £71.

In Saintfield, ewes sold to £155, with the main run from £106 to £142. In Rathfriland, the top was £152.

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