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Beef Trade: Ball back in farmers’ court

Base quotes for U-3 grade prime cattle held steady at 316- 320p/kg this week, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).

It stated that an improvement of 2p/kg to 318-322p/kg for steers and heifers expected early next week.

At the start of the week, quotes for good quality O+3 grade cows ranged from 230-236p/kg, however, with a tightening in the number of cows coming forward for processing the trade has improved to 236-250p/kg.

Throughput of prime cattle in NI plants last week totalled 5,815 head, bringing the total prime cattle throughput during 2020 to 121,205 head marginally back when compared to the same period in 2019.

Cow throughput in NI last week totalled 1,281 head taking throughput for the year-to-date to 31,806 head – an increase of six per cent from the corresponding period in 2019.

Imports of prime cattle from ROI for direct slaughter in NI plants last week totalled 136 head with 16 cows also imported. This brings the total prime cattle imports from ROI during 2020 to date to 2,758 head, back 757 head from the same period in 2019, the LMC pointed out.

Meanwhile, cattle exports from NI for slaughter in ROI plants consisted of 31 cows last week, which brings total cattle exports during 2020 to date to 1,056 head, back 1,013 head compared to the corresponding period last year.


“Last week, tighter supplies of all types of cattle contributed to an improvement in deadweight prices. The R3 steer price in NI last week was up 3.5p/kg from the previous week to 325.9p/kg.”

In the corresponding week last year, the R3 steer price in NI was 342.6p/kg; the average steer price was up by 1.7p/kg to 316.4p/kg. The R3 heifer price in NI last week increased by 3.6p/kg to 326.6p/kg.

In the corresponding week in 2019, the R3 heifer price in NI was 343.1p/kg; the LMC said that the average heifer price in NI last week was up by 3.2p/kg to 300.1p/kg.

“The young bull trade has generally strengthened in NI with an average price of 318.4p/kg last week, up just over 3p/kg from the previous week.”

The NI O3 cow price increased last week by 7.3p/kg to 241.3p/kg, while the average cow price was up by 6.2p/kg to 217.4p/kg when compared to the previous week.

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