Factory agents are extremely hungry for cattle and farmers continue to hold the upper hand when negotiating on price.

There are some reports of cattle agents telling farmers about plentiful supplies as they attempt to keep a grip on the trade, but such talk should be ignored at the moment.

Cattle are scarce right across the province and with factories chasing numbers, prices continue to edge upwards.

A similar scenario exists in the Republic of Ireland, with U grading animals making the equivalent of 475p to 480p/kg.

At local marts, competition between specialist finishers and wholesalers is rampant, pushing prices in the live ring ahead of those on offer at factories.

Base quotes remain on 450p/kg for U-3 grading animals, but this still falls short of the price deals on offer to entice farmers into selling.

Most reports indicate that 468p/kg to 470p/kg is commonly available on prime steers and heifers this week.

Farmers with bigger numbers and can deliver a steady flow of cattle each week are faring better on price, as processors look to ringfence supplies over the next month.

At the upper end of the market, prices of 472p to 475p/kg have been reported, with farmers indicating that wholesalers in particular appear to be buying animals at these levels.

Young bulls have become a more valuable commodity and deals are hovering around 460p/kg for animals meeting certain weight limits.

Last week, the average price paid across steers and heifers of all grades rose by 3p/kg to 452.79p/kg. Steers with U3 conformation rose 2.3p/kg to average 466.6p/kg, while heifers at the same grade increased by 4p to 468.4p/kg. Young bulls jumped by more than 5p/kg, averaging 454.6p/kg for U3 grading animals.


Cull cows quotes bear no resemblance to the factory prices paid. Quotes on R3 cows sit on 370p/kg, but falls 20p to 30p/kg below prices paid, with 420p/kg paid at upper end of the market.

NI sheep: hogget prices rise as numbers tighten

Hoggets are a much brighter trade this week, with mart prices up £4 to £6 as buyers for southern plants become more active.

Factory quotes have risen to 520p/kg, but 10p/kg more is widely available, making a 22kg carcase worth £116.

In Gortin, heavy hoggets at 28.5kg made £123, 25.5kg selling to £122, 25kg to £120 and 22kg to £110.

Kilrea sold 450 hoggets from 483p to 514p/kg, up 14p to 28p/kg on last week. Hoggets at 24kg made £120, with 23kg to £115.

Markethill sold 430 hoggets from 490p to 520p/kg, up 40p/kg on last week. Saintfield sold 830 hoggets from 480p to 520p/kg, up 20p/kg, with 28kg making £124, 25kg to £120, 21.5kg to £109, 20kg to £104 and 18.5kg to £94.50.

In Rathfriland, 335 hoggets made 470p to 500p/kg, with the sale average of 480p/kg up 13p/kg.

In Ballymena, hoggets at 25.5kg made £122, 24.5kg at £120, 23.5kg made £119, 23kg and 22kg to £115/head.


Fat ewes are a solid trade, with Gortin topping £144 and the main run from £103 to £129.

In Kilrea, top price was £147 and in Markethill, it was £154. Saintfield sold Texels from £160 to £185, with the main run making £105 to £142. In Rathfriland, top was £144.

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