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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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‘Mixed’ beef trade in Northern Ireland

Beef trade Northern Ireland May 2021

According to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), beef factories across Northern Ireland quoted 366-378p/kg for U-3 grade prime cattle this week.

The LMC reported that quotes for early next week are expected to range from 362-376p/kg.

“Producers should use these quotes as a starting point for negotiation with higher prices available, particularly for cattle that meet current market specifications.”

Quotes for good quality O+3 grading cows this week continued to range from 265-290p/kg, with “similar quotes expected for next week”.


Prime cattle throughput last week decreased by 364 head from the previous week to total 6,328 head. However, this is an increase of 30.6 per cent when compared to the same week in 2020 when 4,847 prime cattle were processed locally.

Furthermore, cow throughput has also declined from the previous week, with 1,551 cows processed in local plants last week.

In the same week last year, 1,196 cows were slaughtered locally.

Exports and imports

Imports of cattle from ROI for direct slaughter in local plants declined last week to 96 prime cattle and 23 cows with no cattle imported from GB for direct slaughter.

Exports from NI to ROI for direct slaughter also decreased with two prime cattle and 49 cows exported last week and 40 prime cattle and four cows making the journey from NI to GB for processing.

Beef trade Northern Ireland May 2021 

“The NI deadweight prices for prime cattle reported a mixed trade last week when compared to the previous week.”

The average steer price in NI marginally increased to 382.1p/kg, with the R3 steer price up just over a penny to 391.1p/kg.

Meanwhile, the average heifer price decreased by just over a penny last week to 383.4p/kg. To note, the R3 heifer price was back by 0.4p/kg to 392.2p/kg.

“The average young bull price in NI held steady last week at 366.6p/kg. However, the U3 young bull price decreased by almost 3p/kg to 383p/kg.”

“Meanwhile, the average NI cow price decreased by 2.5p/kg from the previous week to 272.9p/kg, with the O3 cow price up 0.4p/kg to 297.3p/kg last week.”


In GB last week, deadweight prime cattle prices “came under pressure” from the previous week. The average steer price in GB was back just over a penny to 407.1p/kg, while the average R3 steer price decreased by 1.4p/kg to 411.6p/kg. “This places the R3 steer price at 20.5p/kg above the equivalent price in NI,” the LMC remarked.

The average heifer price in GB last week was back 1.4p/kg to 405.9p/kg, with the R3 heifer price back 1.7p/kg to 410.9p/kg. “This puts the GB R3 heifer price at 18.7p/kg, higher than the same price in NI.”

“The average cow price in GB decreased by almost a penny to 279.4p/kg last week, with the O3 cow price up by 1.3p/kg to 301.7p/kg.”

Republic of Ireland

According to the LMC, in the ROI last week, the deadweight cattle trade “has continued to firm”.

It noted that the R3 steer price up by almost a penny to the equivalent of 358.7p/kg.

“The R3 heifer price in ROI increased by 1.7p/kg to the equivalent of 362.4p/kg. This puts the differential between ROI and NI for R3 grade steers and heifers at 32.4p/kg and 29.8p/kg, respectively.”

“The cow trade also strengthened in ROI last week, with the O3 cow price up by almost 2p/kg to the equivalent of 295p/kg. This was 2.3p/kg lower than the O3 cow price in NI,” the LMC concluded.

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