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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: Close to 50c/kg gap between ROI and NI

Farmers witnessed a drop in beef prices across some categories in plants across Northern Ireland this week.

Base quotes for in spec U-3 grade prime cattle ended ranging from 364-378p/kg, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).

It noted that most plants quoted at the upper end for steers and heifers, while quotes for Monday are expected to range from 364- 374p/kg.

“With the range in quotes available, producers should use these quotes as a starting point for negotiation with higher prices available.”

“Quotes from the plants for good quality O+3 grading cows this week ranged from 260-272p/kg. Quotes for early next week are expected to range from 260-280p/kg.”


Prime cattle throughput in local plants totalled 6,834 head last week, representing an increase of 222 prime cattle from the previous week.

However, this is back 242 head when compared to the corresponding week in 2020 when 7,076 prime cattle were processed locally.

Cow throughput in local plants decreased by 184 head from the previous week to 1,963 cows last week. In the same week last year, 2,014 cows were processed locally.

Imports and exports

Cattle imports for direct slaughter from ROI last week consisted of 135 prime cattle and 73 cows. No cattle were imported from GB for direct slaughter locally.

Meanwhile, exports out of NI to ROI for direct slaughter last week consisted of three heifers and 72 cows, while no cattle made the journey to plants in GB.

Beef prices drop

The average steer price in NI last week decreased by a penny to 376p/kg, according to the LMC.

However, it noted the R3 steer price was up by 1.2p/kg to 386.1p/kg. Furthermore, the average heifer price reported a slight increase last week to 377.9p/kg with the R3 heifer price up by 2p/kg to 387.8p/kg.

The average young bull price in NI was 363.4p/kg, up 1.8p/kg, while the R3 young bull price was back by 1.8p/kg to 374.4p/kg.

Meanwhile, the average cow price in NI last week decreased by 0.4p/kg to 259.4p/kg. Also, the O3 cow price was back just over a penny to 281.6p/kg.


In GB last week, the average steer price and R3 steer price both marginally increased to 378.1p/kg and 383.6p/kg, respectively.

However, variations in the R3 steer price were reported across the regions last week with increases in Scotland (+1.1p/kg), Southern England (+0.5p/kg) and the Midlands (+0.8p/kg). Furthermore, a marginal decrease was reported in Northern England (-0.2p/kg).

Last week, the average heifer price in GB decreased by 1.2p/kg to 377.7p/kg with the R3 heifer price up 0.3p/kg to 383p/kg.

The R3 heifer price came back in all regions except for the Midlands and Wales where it was up 1.2p/kg to 382.9p/kg.

Meanwhile in GB last week the cow trade slightly firmed from the previous week. The average O3 cow price increased by 1.3p/kg to 270.6p/kg which was 11p/kg behind the O3 cow price in NI.

Beef prices drop in ROI

“In ROI last week, the R3 steer price was back by the equivalent of 1.2p/kg to 341.1p/kg with the R3 heifer price up half-a-penny to 346.7p/kg.”

“This puts the R3 steer price in ROI at 45p/kg below the equivalent NI price with the ROI R3 heifer price at 41p/kg below the same price in NI. The O3 cow price in ROI increased by 1.8p/kg last week to the equivalent of 271.4p/kg.” the LMC spokesperson concluded.

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