Quotes at most of the plants are steady this week, although one is showing a 2p/kg drop in base quotes.

The best quote is at 430p/kg for U-3 grade steers and heifers.

Farmers report that deals are also unchanged, with prices paid staying in the low to mid-440s for top-grading prime animals.

Last week, U3 grading steers averaged 444.1p/kg, up nearly 3p on the previous week.

However, U3 heifers were back 4p to average 442.2p/kg. Across all steers, prices were unchanged, with heifers back 2p/kg.

While the trade has steadied, factories have still managed to take 10p/kg off prices paid from the peak recorded at the start of July 2022.

Over the same period, average beef prices in Britain are back 6p/kg. However, there has been a much sharper drop in the Republic of Ireland.

U3 steers averaged nearly 454p/kg at the start of July, but were back to 418p/kg by the end of the month there.

With local factories complaining about slow beef sales, tight finished cattle numbers are helping to keep a floor in the trade.

A gap to prices in the south means there is also an incentive to bring cattle north for direct slaughter.

Last week saw 492 Irish cattle processed in NI plants, the third-highest weekly total so far in 2022.

Only 18 cattle from NI were slaughtered in southern factories last week, and none were taken across the Irish Sea to Britain.

To date in 2022, with NI prices generally tracking the trade in Britain, only 425 NI cattle have been direct slaughtered in England or Scotland.

Cow trade

The quotes for fat cows have edged down by 2p and 10p/kg at two of the plants.

The best quote for an R grade cow is at 360p, with the O+3 grade at 350p/kg.

Prices paid are still well ahead of these quotes.

An R4 cow last week was at 388.1p/kg.

That was down 6p on the previous week, although the average across all cows slaughtered was unchanged.

Lamb prices rebound in NI

Quotes at Northern Ireland factories have increased this week, with a best quote of 510p, making a lamb worth £107.10 at the 21kg limit. The marts are driving the trade, with increases of up to 30p/kg paid for heavier lambs.

In Kilrea 630 lambs sold from 440p to 481p/kg, up by 5p on last week. The 481p was for 21.5kg making £103.50; with 476p paid for 21kg at £100; and 475p for 22kg at £104.50.

In Massereene, a show of 685 lambs sold from 441p to 492p/kg, up by 11p to 27p. The 492p was paid for 19.5kg at £96, with 485p for 19.5kg at £94.50. Lambs at 25kg made £112.50, with 33kg at £110 and 24kg making to £104.

In Saintfield, a firmer trade saw 860 lambs selling from 465p to 513p/kg, up by 30p/kg for heavier lambs. The top price was £122 paid for 27kg, with £116 for 26kg.

Lambs at 24kg sold to £112, with 22kg to £103.50. Lambs at 21kg sold to £104, with 20kg to £102.50.

And in Rathfriland, a big show of 1,152 lambs sold for 445p to 512p/kg, and averaged 471p, up by 21p on last week.

At Ballymena, Wednesday, early lots were a firm trade. Lambs at 24kg made up to £113.50, up by £4.50 on last week. Lambs at 22kg sold to £104; with 21.5kg making to £100/head.


The trade in fat ewes has firmed. In Kilrea, the top price was £174. In Massereene, the top was £132 for Texels, with Suffolks and Charolais at £110 and Dorsets at £105.

In Saintfield, the top ewe price was £182, with others making from £115 to £166. And in Rathfriland the top was £151/head.