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Beef price gap between ROI and NI widens

Base quotes for in spec U-3 grade prime cattle ranged from 324-334p/kg in Northern Ireland this week, with the majority of plants quoting 332-334p/kg for steers and heifers, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission.

Quotes from the plants for good quality O+3 grading cows this week ranged from 240-250p/kg. “Similar quotes are expected for all types of cattle early next week.”

Beef kill

Prime cattle throughput in local plants totalled 7,076 head last week, which was similar to the previous week.

The inclusion of last week’s kill brings total throughput of prime cattle for January 2020 to 33,334 head, which is marginally lower than the 33,421 prime cattle slaughtered in local plants during January 2019.

Cow throughput in local plants totalled 2,014 head last week, again similar to the previous week. Throughput for cows in January 2020 has totalled 9,761 head – up 7.5 per cent from the 9,081 cows slaughtered in January 2019.

The LMC noted that cattle imports for direct slaughter from ROI last week consisted of 229 prime cattle and 64 cows with a further 3 steers and 92 cows imported from GB.

During January 2020, a total of 1,349 prime cattle were imported to NI from GB and ROI compared to 1,596 prime cattle imported from the same regions in January last year.

Meanwhile exports out of NI to ROI for direct slaughter last week consisted of 12 prime cattle, 53 cows and nine bulls, with no cattle exported to plants in GB, according to the LMC.

Prices

The average steer price in NI last week increased by 0.6p/kg to 333.2p/kg; however, the R3 steer price was back by 1.3p/kg to 340p/kg.

The average heifer price reported an increase of just over a penny last week to 336.4p/kg with the R3 heifer price up by 1.4p/kg to 342.5p/kg.

The average young bull price in NI last week was 314.9p/kg, back 0.6p/kg while the R3 young bull price was back by a penny to 325.9p/kg.

The average cow price in NI last week increased by 0.9p/kg to 238.4p/kg however the O3 cow price decreased by 2.4p/kg to 254.8p/kg.

GB

In GB last week, the average steer price held steady at 332.7p/kg with the R3 steer price up by 0.8p/kg to 341.2p/kg.

“Across the regions, declines in R3 steer prices were reported in Scotland (-0.3p/kg) and Southern England (-1.6p/kg) with increases reported in Midlands (+0.5p/kg) and Northern England (+3.9p/kg).”

The overall average heifer price in GB increased by 0.8p/kg to 333.4p/kg with the R3 heifer price up by a similar margin to 340p/kg.

The R3 heifer price came back in all regions except in Northern England where it was up 5.9p/kg to 341.4p/kg.

“In GB last week, the cow trade firmed with the average O3 cow price increasing by 3.5p/kg to 252p/kg, which was 2.8p/kg lower than the O3 cow price in NI.”

ROI

“In ROI last week, the R3 steer price was up by the equivalent of 0.7p/kg to 309.4p/kg with the R3 heifer price holding steady at 313.8p/kg.”

This, the LMC highlighted, puts the ROI R3 steer price at 30.6p/kg below the equivalent NI price with the ROI R3 heifer price at 28.7p/kg below the same price in NI.

The O3 cow price in ROI increased by 2.1p/kg last week to the equivalent of 242p/kg.

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