Factory quotes on prime cattle have jumped to 460p/kg for U-3 grading animals, up 6p to 10p/kg on last week as supplies remain tight.

The upward momentum in factory quotes is contradicting what some cattle agents are telling farmers as they look to keep a grip on the trade.

Some agents maintain supplies are plentiful at present and they have no issues with sourcing numbers.

Yet despite these claims, base quotes are rising and farmers indicate they are being regularly contacted about cattle. Prices have edged up 2p/kg this week, with no delay in getting animals slaughtered.

Most farmers report 470p/kg is widely available as a starting price for prime cattle. Steers are moving freely from 470p to 472p/kg where numbers are more limited.

Where bigger numbers are available, price deals range from 474p to 478p/kg, with isolated reports of 480p/kg paid for a steady supply of in-spec animals.

Heifers are moving at similar prices to steers. Higher prices are easier to come by for butcher-type animals or a steady flow of animals on a weekly arrangement.

Young bulls are also rising in value, with most reports putting deals from 460p to 466p/kg. However, some farmers are managing to match steer prices for bulls fitting a tight carcase specification.

The rise in base quotes is pushing Angus cattle above 480p/kg and animals with higher conformation are closing in on 490p/kg.

Last week, the average price paid on steers and heifers of all grades increased by 3.8p/kg to 456.58p/kg.

Prices on U3 steers rose by a similar amount to average 470.2p/kg, while heifers at the same grade increased by 2.4p/kg to average 470.6p/kg. Young bulls averaged 460.8p/kg.


Quotes on cull cows have also increased, with O+3 animals on 384p/kg and R3 cows on 395p/kg. Prices of 400p/kg for beef cows have been widely reported for R grading animals, rising to 420p/kg for better-quality animals.

NI sheep: mart trade boosting hogget prices

The hogget trade is much brighter this week, with prices increasing within the live trade.

Factory quotes have responded, rising to 530p/kg, although farmers indicate 540p/kg is widely available as a base, making hoggets worth £118.80 at the 22kg weight limit.

In Gortin, hoggets at 25.5kg sold to £126.50, up £4.50, with 25kg sold to £122 and 22kg to £115.50.

Kilrea sold 620 hoggets from 484p to 524p/kg, no change on last week. Hoggets at 24kg sold to £118, with 23kg to £113.

Markethill sold 500 hoggets from 470p to 500p/kg, down by 20p/kg on last week. Saintfield sold 745 hoggets from 488p to 530p/kg, up 10p/kg on last week.

Heavy Texel hoggets at 27kg made £131, 24kg to £126, 21kg to £107.50, with 21kg crossbreds to £105. Texels at 19kg made £100.

In Rathfriland, 456 hoggets made 479p to 510p/kg and averaged 493p/kg, up 13p/kg on last week.

In Ballymena the trade was firm. Heavy hoggets at 30.5kg made £124, 25.5kg made £121, 24.5kg also made £121. Hoggets at 22.5kg made £112, with 21.5kg at £107.5.


The trade for fat ewe is buoyant, with strong prices for heavy lots.

In Gortin, top price was £141, with the main run from £104 to £138.

In Kilrea, top was £145 and in Markethill, it was £135.

In Saintfield, purebred Texels sold at £245 and £215, with the main run making £115 to £188. In Rathfriland the top was £188.

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