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Beef Trade: ‘Use base quotes as a starting point for negotiation’

Base quotes from the beef plants in Northern Ireland for U-3 grading prime cattle range from 324-334p/kg, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).

It noted that most plants are quoting in the region of 330- 334p/kg for both steers and heifers, while quotes for good quality O+3 grading cows continue to fall in the region of 240-250p/kg. “With such a range in quotes for all types of cattle, producers are encouraged to shop around for the best deal and to use these base quotes as a starting point for negotiation.”

Prime cattle throughput in local plants last week totalled 7,143 head, an increase of 203 head from the previous week and similar to the 7,111 prime cattle killed in the same week last year.

Cow throughput last week reported similar levels to the previous week at 1,896 head. In the same week last year, 1,686 cows were killed in local plants.

“Imports of cattle from ROI for direct slaughter in NI have continued at similar levels with 217 prime cattle and 105 cows imported last week.”

“A further 10 prime cattle and 107 cows were imported from GB for direct slaughter.” the LMC added.

Cattle exports from NI to ROI for direct slaughter last week consisted of 12 prime cattle and 44 cows with a further 35 prime cattle and three cows making the journey to GB. “This was the first time cattle have been exported to GB for direct slaughter during 2020 to date.”

Average prices

The average steer price in NI last week was back by just over a penny to 331.6p/kg with the R3 steer price was back by 0.7p/kg to 339.4p/kg. In the same week last year, the R3 steer price was 345.7p/kg. The average NI heifer price came back by 0.4p/kg to 335.3p/kg last week while the R3 heifer price was up marginally to 341.8p/kg.

The LMC pointed out that the average young bull price in NI last week was back 1.5p/kg to 311.5p/kg, while the R3 young bull price was back 4.2p/kg to 324.6p/kg. The average NI cow price paid increased by half-a-penny to 240.5p/kg last week with the O3 cow price up by a penny to 260.4p/kg, the highest recorded price since June, according to the LMC.


In GB last week, the average steer price was up 2.3p/kg to 335.7p/kg with the R3 steer price up by a similar margin to 342.6p/kg.

“R3 steer prices reported increases in all of the GB regions last week with the strongest increase in Northern England (+3.7p/kg).”

“The average GB heifer price was up 1.3p/kg to 336.8p/kg with the R3 heifer price up half-a-penny to 341.5p/kg.”

R3 heifer prices came back in Scotland (-1.9p/kg) and Northern England (-1.4p/kg) with increases reported in Southern England (+2.8p/kg) and the Midlands (+1.2p/kg). The LMC outlined that the O3 cow price in GB increased 1.8p/kg last week to 256.9p/kg.


“The deadweight trade for the majority of cattle improved in ROI last week in euro terms, however, a weakening in euro against sterling has meant many of the reported prices were back in sterling terms.”

“The R3 steer price in ROI last week was the equivalent of 308p/kg, back 1.4p/kg from the previous week. Meanwhile, the R3 heifer price was back marginally to the equivalent of 313.3p/kg.” the LMC concluded.  

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