Base quotes on prime cattle are edging upwards, with a 2p/kg increase bringing the top quote on U-3 grading animals to 398p/kg.

However, there are still factories working from an official quote of 390p/kg as they look to keep a lid on the prices paid for cattle purchased through premium breed schemes.

While processors are able to source enough cattle to fill order books, there are reports that factory agents are working harder to secure numbers, as the availability of stock has tightened slightly.

With agents keen to lock in numbers, farmers with a good supply of cattle are in a strong position to bargain on price.

Price deals for steers start around the 408p/kg mark, but there is 2p to 4p/kg more on offer when bigger numbers of in-spec animals can be supplied. Heifers are moving at similar levels, with most reports around the 410p to 412p/kg mark.

Price reports on young bulls are varied.

There are farmers struggling to better base quotes, while others report deals of 400p to 406p/kg for bulls, although this is tied to a tight carcase specification.

Last week, the average price paid across all steers and heifers increased by 0.8p to 397.86p/kg. For U3 cattle, steers rose by 3p/kg to average 411.1p/kg, while heifers slipped 0.6p/kg to average 410.8p/kg, with young bulls at the same grade on 389.8p/kg.

Cattle imported from the Republic of Ireland for direct slaughter at local plants totalled 361, with 38 animals moving in the opposite direction.

Cull cows

Demand for cull cows is growing as sales of manufacturing beef into the food service market strengthens.

Base quotes have increased by 10p/kg, pushing O+3 cows on to a starting price of 300p/kg, with R3 cows moving on to a base of 310p/kg.

This brings quotes more in line with the prices being paid for cows, although there are deals of 320p to 330p/kg on offer for good-quality suckler types.

NI sheep: live market settles after price increases

There were more hoggets on offer in the marts this week and prices have steadied or slightly eased.

Factory quotes are on 550p/kg, making a hogget worth £121 at the 22kg deadweight limit.

Kilrea sold 750 hoggets from 510p to 536p/kg, a drop of 10p/kg for heavier lots. Hoggets at 28kg made £130, 25kg made £124, 23kg made £119, 22kg made £113 and 19kg stores made £91.

Massereene had a show of 506 hoggets selling from 496p/kg to 533p/kg, down 13p/kg on last week. Leading price for 21.5kg was £114.50, while 23.5kg made £123.50 (526p/kg). The top price per head was £129 for 25.5kg.

Saintfield sold 688 hoggets from 445p to 541p/kg, down 14p/kg for lighter sorts.

In Rathfriland, 400 hoggets sold from 495p to 541p/kg, with the sale average of 523p/kg down 9p/kg on last week.


Fat ewes remain a strong trade. In Kilrea, ewes sold to £168. In Massereene, the top was £153 for Charollais, with Texels on £124 and Suffolks to £120. In Saintfield, the top price was £199 and in Rathfriland, it was £226.