“Steady” was the word the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) used when describing beef prices in Northern Ireland this week (March).
In its weekly market outlook report, the body explained that quotes for in-spec U-3 grade prime cattle ranged from 392-404p/kg.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, quotes for “good quality” O+3 grade cows “strengthened” as they ranged from 280-314p/kg across the plants.
The commission noted that cow quotes vary – depending on grades and carcass weights.
It reported that the deadweight prime cattle trade improved in Northern Ireland last week.
March beef prices
- The average steer price last week was 401.7p/kg, while the R3 steer price rose by 2.5p/kg to 410.9p/kg;
- The average heifer price in NI last week rose by 2.7p/kg to 402.3p/kg, while the R3 heifer price was up 1.8p/kg to 411.3p/kg;
- The average NI young bull price last week fell by 1p/kg from the previous week to 380.9p/kg. The R3 young bull price reported an increase of 5.8p/kg to 398.2p/kg;
- The NI cow trade “strengthened” last week, with the average cow price up 3.1p/kg to 291.4p/kg. The O3 cow price recorded an increase of 2.3p/kg to 316p/kg.
The LMC noted that prime cattle throughput in NI last week dropped by 88 head to 7,582 head.
As a result, this takes the prime cattle year-to-date throughput to 65,881 head; this is up from the 59,260 prime cattle slaughtered in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, a total of 2,290 cows were slaughtered in NI last week, which is 129 head more than the 2,161 cows killed during the previous week.
This takes the year-to-date throughput of cows to 20,012 up 2,864 head from the 17,148 cows slaughtered in the corresponding period in 2021.
Imports and exports
Furthermore, imports of prime cattle from ROI for direct slaughter in NI plants last week comprised 203 prime cattle and 124 cows.
Meanwhile, no cattle were imported from GB for direct slaughter.
Exports of cattle out of NI for direct slaughter to ROI last week consisted of nine prime cattle and 103 cows. Besides, a total of 35 prime cattle and six cows made the journey from NI to GB for direct slaughter.
In the report, the LMC shed light on beef prices in GB last week. Just like Northern Ireland, deadweight prime cattle also strengthened across most grades.
- The average steer price was rose by over a penny to 409.2p/kg, while the average R3 steer price was up marginally to 415.6p/kg. “This narrowed the differential in R3 steer prices last week between NI and GB to 4.7p/kg or £16.45 on a 350kg carcase.”
- Last week, the average heifer price in GB increased by 2.7p/kg to 409.6p/kg, while the average R3 heifer price rose 1.2p/kg to 416.3p/kg. “The differential in R3 heifer prices last week between NI and the GB average narrowed to 5p/kg or £16.00 on a 320kg carcase.”
- The cow trade in GB strengthened with the O3 cow price in GB, reporting a “notable” increase of 10.2p/kg to 329.9p/kg, almost 14p above the O3 cow price in NI.