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NI Beef Trade: Prices begin to slip as more cattle come on stream

Base quotes from the plants for in-spec U-3 grading steers and heifers came under some pressure across plants in Northern Ireland this week.

Quotes fell to 354-360p/kg with most offering 356-360p/kg for both steers and heifers, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).

“Quotes for early next week are expected to range from 350-360p/kg with one plant reducing their quote to 350-352p/kg for both steers and heifers.”

“Quotes for O+3 grading cows ranged from 260-275p/kg across the plants this week with quotes for Monday expected to range from 260-270p/kg.”


Plants have reported “good” supplies of prime cattle available for slaughter with 6,372 head processed in local plants last week.

This was up on the previous week when local prime cattle throughput totalled 6,192 head.

Cow throughput has also remained firm with 2,000 cows processed in NI last week up from the 1,896 cows processed the previous week.


Imports of cattle from ROI for direct slaughter last week consisted of 451 prime cattle and 200 cows which was similar to the previous week, according to the LMC.

There were no cattle imported from GB last week for direct slaughter in local plants.

Meanwhile, cattle exports from NI to ROI for direct slaughter continue to operate at very low levels with just 1 young bull and 54 cows exported last week, while no cattle made the journey to GB for direct slaughter.


The deadweight prime cattle trade was “mixed” in NI last week with the average steer price up by 0.6p/kg to 366.5p/kg and the R3 steer price up by 2.6p/kg to 377.1p/kg.

The average heifer price in NI last week was 367.7p/kg, back 1.4p/kg from the previous week while the R3 heifer price decreased by a penny to 374.5p/kg.

The average young bull price last week increased by just over a penny to 355.5p/kg with the R3 young bull price up by 4.6p/kg to 367.8p/kg, the LMC added.

Meanwhile, the cow trade came under “some pressure” last week with the average cow price back by 8.8p/kg to 262.1p/kg with the O3 cow price back by 1.9p/kg to 287.2p/kg.


Meanwhile, in GB last week the deadweight prime cattle trade improved across the majority of grades, the LMC noted.

The average steer price in GB last week was up 2.7p/kg to 374.3/kg with the R3 steer price up by just under 2p/kg to 381.7p/kg.

The R3 steer price improved across all of the regions except Northern England where a decline of 0.4p/kg was reported.

The average heifer price in GB last week increased by 0.7p/kg to 373.6p/kg with the R3 heifer price up by 2p/kg to 380.5p/kg. All reported increases in prices paid for R3 heifers with the Midlands and Wales reporting the strongest increase of just over 3p/kg to 380.1p/kg.

The overall average cow price decreased in GB last week by 0.8p/kg to 264.5p/kg while the O3 cow price held steady at 289.6p/kg.


“In ROI last week, the deadweight cattle trade came under pressure in euro terms.”
The R3 steer price was the equivalent of 335p/kg back by just under 2p/kg from the previous week, putting the ROI R3 steer price 42.1p/kg below the corresponding NI price.

The R3 heifer price in ROI last week decreased by just under 3p/kg to 337.4p/kg which places it 37.1p/kg lower than the equivalent NI price.

“Prime cattle throughput in ROI totalled 27,582 head last week, back slightly from the previous week and an increase of 748 head when compared to the same week in 2019.”

Image supplied by Brendan Kearney as part of 2020 digital calendar competition

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