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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Beef trade: Bullock and heifer prices reach record-highs

April Beef Trade: Record prices for bullocks and heifers

Beef prices continue to reach record-high levels in Northern Ireland this month (April 2022), as is the case further south.

That is according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), which reported that quotes for in-spec U-3 grade prime cattle “remained steady” this week.

In its weekly market outlook report, it outlined that between 392-420p/kg was on the table for prime cattle this week.

Meanwhile, trade for good quality O+3 cows strengthened mid-week to the tune of 4p/kg. As a result, plants quoted between 280-348p/kg for cattle in this category.

April beef prices 

According to the LMC,

  • The heifer price in NI last week rose by 2.2p/kg to 421.6p/kg, while the R3 heifer price increased by 2.5p/kg to 430.2p/kg. According to the LMC, this is NI’s highest reported R3 heifer price. This grade has recorded an increase of almost 25p/kg since January of this year;
  • Meanwhile, the average young bull price in NI last week increased by just over 5p/kg to 402.3p/kg. The R3 young bull price increased by 4.2p/kg to 415.1p/kg;
  • The average cow price in NI last week reported an increase of 6.6p/kg to 328.8p/kg, with the O3 cow price up 0.8p/kg to 350.5p/kg;
  • Lastly, the average steer price increased last week by 3p/kg from the previous week to 420.2p/kg. Moreover, the R3 steer price increased 3.7p/kg to 429.4p/kg. According to the LMC’s records, this is the highest recorded R3 steer price ever in Northern Ireland. Furthermore, it is an increase of almost 24p/kg from the beginning of this year.

Prime cattle throughput last week fell 1,090 head from the previous week to a total of 6,240 head. Furthermore, this is also down 122 head compared to the same week in 2021 when plants processed 6,362 prime cattle locally.

Besides, cow throughput in NI last week amounted to 1,746 head, which equated to 175 fewer culls from the week before this.

Despite the Easter break, this is up 65 head compared to the 1,681 cows processed in the corresponding week in 2021.

In terms of imports, 139 prime cattle and 80 cull cows were imported from ROI for direct slaughter in NI plants last week.

This brings total year-to-date prime cattle imports from ROI to NI for direct slaughter to 2,930 head.

Export levels are running 1,122 head or 28 per cent behind the same period in 2021.

Exports from NI to ROI for direct slaughter last week comprised three prime cattle and 63 cows.

A further 35 cows made the journey to GB for direct slaughter.

Lastly, there were no imports from GB to NI for direct slaughter last week.

Next week’s beef prices

Looking ahead to next week, according to the LMC, plants are placing 392-424p/kg on the table for U-3 prime cattle and 280-352p/kg for O+3 cows.

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