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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: Prices for in-spec cattle back 2-4p/kg

May 2021 beef prices

According to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), factories across Northern Ireland pulled base quotes for in-spec U-3 grade steers and heifers by 2-4p/kg this week.

The commission reported that quotes for this category fell between 362-376p/kg, although “the majority of plants are quoting at the upper end of this range”,

Therefore, it encourages producers to “shop around to get the best deal possible”, particularly for cattle that meet current market specifications.

Quotes for good quality O+3 grade cows this week remained steady, ranging from 265-290p/kg across the plants.


Throughput of prime cattle in the local plants improved last week with 7,078 head processed, an increase of 750 head compared to the previous week when 6,328 head were processed. This was 1,755 head more than the 5,323 prime cattle processed in local plants during the same week last year.

On the other hand, cow throughput in NI last week totalled 1,592 head. This was up slightly from the previous week and up 428 cows when compared to the same week in 2020. Exports and imports

According to the LMC, imports of prime cattle from ROI for direct slaughter in NI plants last week totalled 222 head, with 19 cows also imported.

Meanwhile, cattle exports from NI for slaughter in ROI plants consisted of seven prime cattle and 69 cows last week.

A further 38 prime cattle and five cows were exported to GB for direct slaughter last week.

May 2021 beef prices in Northern Ireland

Deadweight prime cattle prices in NI last week were generally back from the previous week.

The average steer price decreased by 0.8p/kg to 381.3p/kg, with the R3 steer price back by 1.2p/kg to 389.9p/kg. In the same week in 2020, the R3 steer price was 336.9p/kg.

Furthermore, the average heifer price in NI last week held steady at 383.3p/kg. To note, the R3 heifer price was back by 2.2p/kg to 390p/kg. In the same week last year, the R3 heifer price was 340.2p/kg.

Also, the average young bull price in NI last week recorded an increase of 2.4p/kg to 369p/kg. The R3 young bull price was up by 1.4p/kg to 380.4p/kg. In the same week in 2020, the R3 young bull price was 333p/kg.

Meanwhile, the average NI cow price last week was up 1.8p/kg from the previous week to 274.7p/kg, with the O3 cow price back almost a penny to 296.4p/kg.


“The deadweight cattle trade in GB has come under pressure last week with prices back in the region of 2-4p/kg from the previous week.”

“The average steer price was 403.6p/kg, back 3.5p/kg while the average GB R3 steer price decreased by 3.2p/kg to 408.4p/kg.”

The LMC noted that the average heifer price and R3 heifer price in GB were both back last week by 3.4p/kg to 402.5p/kg and 407.5p/kg, respectively.

The average cow price in GB last week decreased by almost a penny to 278.5p/kg, with the O3 cow price up last week by 0.7p/kg from the previous week to 302.4p/kg.


The LMC reported that in the ROI last week, deadweight cattle prices generally strengthened in euro terms.

“A weakening in the euro against sterling has resulted in prices back in sterling terms from the previous week.”

“The R3 steer price decreased by 0.7p/kg to the equivalent of 358p/kg with the R3 heifer price back by 1.8p/kg to 360.6p/kg,” the LMC concluded.

You can find more beef price updates here.

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