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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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NI beef trade: Lowest kill to date in 2021

Update on beef prices in Northern Ireland – March 2021

According to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), base quotes for in-spec U-3 grade steers and heifers ranged from 362-374p/kg across plants in Northern Ireland this week.

The spokesperson noted that the majority of beef factories quoted 366-374p/kg.

Trade for cows improved this week with quotes for good quality O+3s in the region of 265-290p/kg across plants.


Supplies of prime cattle for slaughter decreased last week to 5,898 head across the local plants. According to the LMC, this is the lowest weekly throughput to date in 2021.

This is also back 815 head compared to the same week in 2020 when prime cattle throughput was 6,713 head.

Besides, cow throughput in NI last week totalled 1,669 head and accounted for almost 22% of total cattle throughput in local plants. This is back 194 cows from the same week in 2020 when cow throughput in NI totalled 1,863 head.

Exports and imports

Imports from ROI for direct slaughter last week consisted of 288 prime cattle and 90 cows, with no cattle imported from GB last week for direct slaughter.

Furthermore, exports from NI for direct slaughter in ROI last week included eight prime cattle and 26 cows, while no cattle made the journey to GB for direct slaughter last week.

March 2021 beef prices Northern Ireland

The deadweight prime cattle trade in NI last week generally improved across most grades.

According to the commission, the average steer price in NI last week was up just over 2p/kg to 372.7p/kg. Meanwhile, the average R3 steer price was up 1.4p/kg to 380.8p/kg.

Besides, the average NI heifer price last week was up by 0.7p/kg from the previous week to 370.4p/kg. Furthermore, the average R3 heifer price increased by 1.8p/kg to 379.9p/kg.

“The average young bull price in NI decreased by a penny to 355.5p/kg with the R3 young bull price up by half-a-penny to 367.8p/kg.”

“Improvements were also reported in the NI cow trade last week with the average NI cow price increasing by 2.3p/kg to 257.6p/kg and the O3 cow price up by 4p/kg to 283.2p/kg.”


In GB, last week, prime cattle deadweight prices strengthened across most grades, with prices increasing in the region of 6-9p/kg from the previous week.

“The average R3 steer price in GB increased by just over 6p/kg to 394p/kg with the average steer price increasing by 7p/kg to 389.2p/kg.”

“The differential in the R3 steer price between NI and GB widened to 13.2p/kg last week. A similar trend was reported in the deadweight heifer trade last week. The overall average heifer price increased by 8p/kg to 388.5p/kg, and the R3 heifer price increasing by almost 7p/kg to 394.2p/kg. This puts the R3 heifer price in GB at 14.3p/kg ahead of NI’s equivalent price.”

“The cow trade in GB also strengthened with the overall average cow price up by 5.2p/kg to 267.6p/kg and the O3 cow price increasing by 6.5p/kg to 289.5p/kg, 6.3p/kg higher than the O3 cow price in NI.”


The commission noted that the beef prices in ROI improved across all grades from the previous week.

“The R3 steer price was up almost a penny to the equivalent of 328.4p/kg, with the R3 heifer price increasing by 2.2p/kg to the equivalent of 332.7p/kg last week.”

“The cow trade in ROI came back marginally by 0.3p/kg last week with an equivalent O3 cow price of 261.6p/kg, 21.6p/kg below the same price in NI,” the spokesperson concluded.

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