What’s being quoted and what’s being paid are two different prices in many cases this week as factories remain under pressure to secure supplies.

Bullocks are in the main being quoted at €4.20/kg, but €4.25/kg is being paid and I saw a kill sheet with a €4.30/kg base price for bullocks where heifers were involved in the same load.

Heifers are being quoted at €4.25 but €4.30 is available, with Foyle Meats in Donegal on €4.40/kg when you include the 10c/kg bonus for carcase weights between 300kg and 380kg.

Factories are willing to do almost anything to get cattle, with haulage, upwards-only grid prices, flat prices, no weight limits and reduced residency periods all on the table to secure cattle this week.

Flat deals of €4.80/kg have been paid to secure in-spec Aberdeen Angus heifers this week where good numbers were involved.

Young bulls have also improved on price compared to last week’s trading, with a €4.25/kg base price now on the table in some factories for young bulls on the grid.

Older under-24-month bulls are being paid out at €4.30-€4.40/kg for U grades with R grades moving at €4.30-€4.35/kg.


The cow trade has jumped on the previous week’s trading, with some factories now quoting €4/kg for U grading cows.

The general run of R grading cows are being bought at €3.75/kg-€3.90/kg.

O grades are moving at €3.55-€3.65/kg, while P grades are being quoted at €3.45-€3.55/kg.

Factory agents are very active in marts purchasing cull cows with flesh.

Last week’s kill rose by just over 800 head on the previous week to 30,259 head excluding veal.

For the same week in 2020, 36,383 head of cattle were killed.

Last week’s increase has come as factories continue to receive large orders for manufacturing beef to service the UK trade.

For the fourth week in a row the young bull kill has dropped. It peaked at 3,555 head in the last week of May and has been steadily dropping since, coming in at 2,470 head for last week.

The young bull kill has been obliterated by factories, with an almost halving of the number of young bulls slaughtered in 2021 compared to the 2019 figure for the first six months of the year.


Tighter supplies in the UK have seen the beef price increase after a few weeks where it had been stagnant. It’s thought that the extension to the lockdown in the UK could mean more demand there during July than was anticipated.

This, coupled with the fact that the England soccer team have progressed to the quarter-final stage of the European Championships, means July will likely be a good month for beef consumption. British R4L steers are being quoted at 406p/kg (€4.99/kg).

IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden said: “Beef markets are very strong, with excellent demand from both the retail and food service trade.

“Farmers should price around when selling cattle as there appears to be a wide variation in quotes depending on what factories need for the week in question.”

Northern Ireland

Finished cattle continue to be met with growing demand in NI and base quotes have increased by 4p/kg to stand at 386p/kg (€4.73/kg incl VAT) for U3 animals.

Prime cattle are starting at around 396p/kg, with deals for regular finishers creeping above the 400p/kg mark (€4.90/kg). Flat rate deals are on offer at the 396p/kg level and include transport. These are proving popular among farmers with a big variation in cattle type. Cull cows remain on 320p to 340p/kg (€3.92 to €4.11/kg) for good-quality suckler types.