For the second week in a row, processors have cut base quotes on prime cattle, with some plants opting for a 4p/kg reduction, putting starting prices on 470p to 476p/kg for U-3 animals.

But, as yet, any downturn in quotes is not affecting the main run of price deals offered on conventional cattle.

Price deals are generally on par to last week, with steers opening at 496p/kg and 498p/kg freely available. Regular finishers continue to report 500p/kg is on offer for in-spec animals.

Heifers are in line with steer prices and most reports indicate that 500p/kg is available for farmers supplying bigger numbers.

However, negotiating beyond 500p/kg has become a lot more difficult and deals above this level are reserved for large-scale feedlot operators only.

Young bulls remain a hard sell, with some processors using the 16-month age limit to their advantage and refusing to offer more than 486p/kg.

Other plants are paying 488p to 490p/kg to farmers with a steady supply of suckler-bred in-spec animals.

Local plants continue to state the slowdown in beef sales is the main reason for a cooling in beef prices, followed by the cuts being applied by processors in the Republic of Ireland.

Prices payable on U3 grading steers processed at Irish plants are running 40p/kg below the equivalent price in Northern Ireland, which is a differential of £152 on a 380kg carcase.

However, prices in Britain are running well ahead of local factories, with U3 cattle making 505p/kg in England and as much as 515p/kg in Scotland.

Last week, the NI average price paid on steers and heifers rose by 0.3p to 486.08p/kg.

Prices paid on U3 steers eased by 0.1p to 500.3p/kg, with heifers down 1.5p to 500.9p/kg.


Quotes for R3 cows are holding at 390p/kg, although deals continue to be offered in the region of 410p to 420p/kg, depending on age, quality and numbers available.

NI sheep: processors cut base quotes

Local factories have moved to cut quotes on lambs this week, with a 15p to 20p/kg reduction.

Quotes of 650p to 655p/kg are available, but 660p/kg is also being paid, making a 21kg carcase worth £138.60.

Mart prices are faring better, with a reasonably steady trade, although sales did see prices easing marginally.

A slightly easier trade in Gortin saw lambs from 27.5kg and upwards making £151 to £160. Lambs at 24.5kg sold to £146, with 21.5kg to £135.

In Kilrea, 400 lambs sold from 600p to 667p/kg, down 20p/kg for heavier lots. Top price per head was £148 for 23.5kg, with £140 paid for 21kg. Hoggets sold to 580p/kg for 25kg at £145 and to a top of £160 for 34kg.

In Markethill, 570 lambs were an improved trade at 610p to 655p/kg, up 10p/kg on last week. Good-quality light lambs sold to 655p/kg for 21.6kg at £134, with a big run from 610p to 650p/kg. Heavy lambs at 25kg made £151, with 25.3kg at £149 and 24.4kg at £142.

In Saintfield, the trade saw 555 lambs making 595p to 638p/kg, down 5p/kg on last week. Suffolks at 27kg made £148, with 24kg Texels making £147. Texels at 25kg sold to £145, with 22kg to £138.

At Rathfriland, 300 lambs made 595p to 620p/kg, with the sale averaging 605p/kg, up 3p/kg.

In Ballymena, early lots were a firm trade, with 21kg making £132.5 and 23kg at £144.50 and 22.5kg at £143.


The trade for fat ewes has picked up this week. The best ewes in Gortin made £188 and £184, with a run from £130 to £180.

In Kilrea, top was £210. In Markethill, a big show of 510 ewes sold to £230, with others from £130 and £198. In Saintfield, Texels sold to £202, with a big run from £130 to £188.

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