While beef prices at processing plants in Britain continue to rise, it appears that the recent upward momentum at local factories seems to have stalled.

Price reports are broadly similar to previous weeks, with the bulk of prime cattle moving off farm for around 396p to 400p/kg.

Supplies of finished cattle are generally tight, but cattle agents are managing to meet throughput. However, to secure numbers, there are a range of deals being offered.

With cattle agents reluctant to cross the 400p/kg mark, farmers with stock to offload are being offered deals including transport or zero penalties on cattle falling out of spec.

There are also reports of cattle being bought at a flat-rate price and farmers with greater variability in finished stock appear happy to lock in on these offers.

Deals available

There are deals above 400p/kg available. But they are mostly reserved for larger finishers with a steady supply of animals being offloaded every week, or apply to cattle that avail of bonus payments under premium breed schemes.

Official factory quotes continue to rise, with a top quote of 378p/kg on offer for U-3 grading animals, up 4p/kg on last week.

In Scotland, base quotes for R4L animals have cleared the 430p/kg barrier, with quotes of 415p to 420p/kg in England.

Last week was the first time since September that NI cattle were shipped for direct slaughter at plants in Britain, with 38 animals exported.

Imports of Irish cattle for direct slaughter at NI plants eased to 412 head, a drop of 129 on the week, with 38 animals moving in the opposite direction.

Cull cows

With supplies of cull cows extremely tight, processors have little option but to increase the price deals on offer.

While official base quotes on R3 grading animals remain on 290p/kg, farmers with good-quality suckler-bred cows are being offered deals of 320p/kg, with more on offer for younger lots.

NI sheep trade: factories cut lamb and hogget prices

With lamb prices on the turn, prices paid in the marts have eased by 30p to 60p/kg this week. Factories have also cut base quotes, which are now on 610p/kg for lambs and 570p/kg for hoggets.

In Kilrea, lambs sold from 600p to 627p/kg, down 60p/kg on the week.

In Massereene, lambs sold from 580p to 610p/kg, down 50p/kg. Lambs at 24kg made £140, while 23kg made £138, 22kg made £134.50 and 21kg made £125.

Hoggets ranged from 510p to 538p/kg, down 20p to 40p/kg on last week. Hoggets at 26kg made £136, with 23kg at £120.

In Saintfield, lambs made 556p to 620p/kg, down by 31p/kg for heavier lots.

In Rathfriland, 200 lambs made 568p to 640p/kg, with the sale average of 600p/kg down 36p/kg on last week.


The trade for fat ewes is steady and well-fleshed lots are making great prices, with Kilrea selling to a top of £173.

In Massereene, Suffolks made to £150, Charollais made £145 and Mules made £130. In Saintfield, the top was £186 and in Rathfriland, it was £183.

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