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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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‘ROI R3 steer price 40p/kg behind the same price in NI’

Beef prices continued to “come under pressure” across plants in Northern Ireland this week (September 2021).

The LMC (Livestock and Meat Commission) reports that quotes from the plants for in-spec U-3 grade prime cattle ranged from 384-394p/kg.

Meanwhile, quotes for good quality O+3 grade cows ranged from 280-300p/kg, with most plants “quoting at the upper end of this scale”.

September 2021 beef prices in Northern Ireland

  • Last week, the average steer price in NI decreased by 1.6p/kg to 390.9p/kg, while the R3 steer price fell by 3.1p/kg to 399.3p/kg. In the corresponding week in 2020, the R3 steer price in NI was 364.3p/kg, 35p/kg behind current levels.
  • The average heifer price in NI last week fell by 1.6p/kg to 394.9p/kg, with the R3 heifer price back 2.4p/kg to 401.0p/kg.
  • In contrast, the average young bull price rose by 1.5p/kg to 381.1p/kg, with the R3 young bull price down 3.2p/kg to 388.3p/kg.
  • Furthermore, the average cow price decreased by 4.6p/kg to 280.0p/kg, while the O3 cow price “remained steady” at 315.1p/kg.

Last week, prime cattle throughput in local plants totalled 6,567 head – an increase of 69 head on the 6,498 prime cattle processed the previous week.

However, this is 239 fewer cattle than the corresponding week in 2020, when prime cattle throughput amounted to 6,806.

In Northern Ireland last week, the number of cows increased by 284 head to 2,097 head – up 119 when compared to the corresponding week in 2020, local plants processed 1,978 cows. Read last week’s market report.

Exports and imports

Imports for direct slaughter from ROI last week rose from the previous week to 426 prime cattle and 188 cows with no cattle imported from GB for direct slaughter.

Exports from NI for direct slaughter in ROI plants last week comprised four prime cattle and 54 cows. On the other hand, a further 29 prime cattle and 12 cows were exported out of the north for direct slaughter in GB.

Beef trade in GB

In its weekly report, the commission also provides an insight into the beef trade in Great Britain.

“A mixed performance” were the words it used, to sum up, trade, where prices fell across most categories.

Firstly, the average steer price in GB last week fell by 1.3p/kg to 410.5p/kg, with the R3 steer price back 0.2p/kg to 417.6p/kg.

“This brings the differential in the R3 steer price between NI and GB to 18.3p/kg up almost 3p from the previous week.”

The average heifer price in GB fell 0.3p/kg to 410.1p/kg, with the R3 heifer price up 0.4p/kg to 418.2p/kg.

In the corresponding week in 2020, the R3 heifer price in GB stood at 376.1p/kg. Last week, the average cow price in GB was also back 2.8p/kg to 286.8p/kg, with the O3 cow price falling 1.9p/kg to 313.7p/kg.


“Last week in ROI, the deadweight prices for prime cattle came under pressure with prices back on the majority of grades.”

“However, the R3 steer price increased slightly by 0.2p/kg to 359.3p/kg. This puts the ROI R3 steer price 40p/kg behind the same price in NI.”

“The R3 heifer price last week was up 0.1p/kg to 362.5p/kg, which takes the R3 heifer price differential between NI and ROI to 38.5p/kg.”

The O3 cow price reported an increase of 0.3p/kg to the equivalent of 303.0p/kg.

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