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NI Beef Trade: Lower quotes for young bulls, heifers and steers

Base quotes from major NI processors for in-spec U-3 grade prime cattle ranged from 324-336p/kg this week, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).

The majority of plants are quoting 332-334p/kg for steers and heifers, O+3 grade cows are ranging from 240-250p/kg across the plants.

“Similar quotes are expected for all types of cattle next week.” the LMC explained.

Cattle throughput

Prime cattle throughput in NI plants last week totalled 6,841 head, a decrease of 240 head from the previous week and 387 head less than the 7,228 prime cattle processed in the corresponding week in 2019.

Meanwhile cow, throughput in NI plants last week slightly increased to 1,928 head from the previous week – 341 head above the 1,587 cows processed in local plants in the same week last year.

Prime cattle imports from ROI for direct slaughter in NI plants last week totalled 134 head, with 66 cows also imported for direct slaughter. In the corresponding week in 2019, there were 55 prime cattle and 21 cows imported from ROI for direct slaughter, the LMC added.

Meanwhile, two steers and 48 cows were imported from GB last week, which was similar to the same week in 2019.

“Exports from NI to ROI for direct slaughter last week included two steers and 82 cows with no cattle making the journey to GB for direct slaughter.”

Prices

The LMC noted that the average steer price in NI last week was back marginally to 331p/kg, with the R3 steer price back by 0.8p/kg to 338.8p/kg when compared to the previous week.

The average heifer price in NI last week decreased by 1.2p/kg to 332.6p/kg with the R3 heifer price back 2.2p/kg to 339.1p/kg.

The average young bull price in NI last week decreased by 6.2p/kg to 310p/kg, while the R3 young bull price increased by 2.6p/kg to 328p/kg.

The cow trade in NI improved last week with the O3 cow price increasing by 3.7p/kg to 258.8p/kg from the previous week, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission.

The average steer price in GB last week was up 0.7p/kg to 335.7p/kg with the average R3 steer price up by just under a penny to 342.2p/kg. “The differential last week in R3 steer prices between NI and GB was 3.4p/kg. In the corresponding week last year, the differential between the regions was 5.7p/kg.”

“The average heifer price in GB last week decreased by half-a-penny to 336.5p/kg while the average R3 heifer price remained steady at 343.8p/kg.”

This, the LMC pointed out, puts the differential in R3 heifer prices last week between NI and the GB average at 4.7p/kg. In the same week in 2019, the differential between NI and GB was 5.2p/kg.

ROI

“In ROI last week, the cattle trade continued to firm and, this combined with a stronger euro against sterling, has resulted in notable increases in deadweight prices sterling terms.”

“The R3 steer price was up by the equivalent of 10.4p/kg to 323.7p/kg, 15.1p/kg behind the R3 steer price in NI.”

The R3 heifer price increased by a similar margin to the equivalent of 328.3p/kg, which, the LMC noted, puts it 10.8p/kg behind the corresponding price in NI.

“The O3 cow price in ROI last week recorded an increase of 9p/kg to the equivalent of 262p/kg, 3.2p/kg above the same price in NI.” the LMC concluded.

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