ICSA beef chair, Edmund Graham, has encouraged farmers to use the mart system to pursue the best cattle prices while supplies remain tight.
The organisation has said that livestock marts are “the best option for many” as cattle remain scarce.
“It’s important to know what your animals are worth no matter where you sell them.”
“Looking at the trade over the last few weeks, it appears that mart prices are beyond those quoted at factory level. It is also worth noting that out-of-spec cattle are achieving just as much as in-spec cattle in the marts.”
“While factory agents are doing their best to keep cattle out of the marts, there is no harm in letting them compete for stock in the open market.”
He pointed out that with cattle as scarce as they are, the opportunity is there for farmers to “chase a decent price” through whatever means possible.
“Upwards of €2.50/kg live weight has been achieved regardless of spec with northern buyers helping to keep the trade buoyant also.”
“The marts should remain a good option for the coming weeks at least, and particularly so if you happen to be facing quality assurance penalties in the factories,” he concluded.
Beef prices in Northern Ireland
Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, beef prices have reached record-high levels.
According to the Livestock and Meat Commission, base quotes for U-3 grading prime ranged from 380-394p/kg last week.
It reported that the majority of plants quoted at the upper end of this scale.
Meanwhile, the cow trade “slightly firmed” with base quotes of 275-302p/kg for good quality O+3 grades.
“The deadweight cattle trade in NI has continued to strengthen across the majority of grades last week, with some of the highest prices ever reported locally.”
“The R3 steer and R3 heifer price in NI both followed a similar trend last week. Prices increased for the fifth consecutive week to 398.3p/kg and 399.7p/kg, respectively. Both prices also recorded the highest ever reported prices in NI to date.”
The deadweight cow trade in NI has also continued to improve. The LMC added that the highest reported O3 cow price was 310.3p/kg, an increase of 2.4p/kg from the previous week.
“This placed the O3 cow price in NI 9.2p/kg ahead of the equivalent price in ROI and 2p/kg below the average GB price for O3 cows.”