Base prices for in-spec U-3 grading cattle have edged up slightly in plants in Northern Ireland this week, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission.
It noted that some factories are offering 356-362p/kg with the quoting in the region of 358-360p/kg. “Quotes for cows started this week at 262-280p/kg but came back to 245-270p/kg as the week progressed”
Prime cattle throughput in NI last week totalled 7,418 head. This was up by almost 300 head from the previous week and was very similar to the throughput recorded in the same week last year.
Cow throughput also increased slightly last week to 2,681 head which was the highest weekly cow throughput for the year to date.
There was also an increase recorded in the average prime cattle carcase weight last week to 352kg while the average cow carcase weight increased to 311kg.
Imports to ROI
Cattle imports from ROI for direct slaughter in local plants last week consisted of 205 prime cattle and 111 cows.
“This was an increase from the previous week but well below the strong levels of import recorded during much of the summer/autumn 2020.”
Exports from NI to ROI for direct slaughter last week consisted of 4 prime cattle, 79 cows and 1 mature bull. There were no cattle exported from NI to GB for direct slaughter last week with no cattle moving in the opposite direction either.
The average steer price in NI last week was almost unchanged at 359.1p/kg, the LMC noted. The R3 steer price was up marginally to 367.3p/kg.
In the same week last year, the R3 steer price in NI was 324.9p/kg which puts the increase in the value of a 350kg carcase at £148 year-on-year.
The average heifer price was back by a penny last week to 360.6p/kg while the R3 heifer price increased by 1.8p/kg to 369.6p/kg.
In the corresponding week last year, the R3 heifer price in NI was 327.5p/kg which is 42.1p/kg behind current levels. On a 330kg carcase, this is the equivalent of £139.
Young bull prices “came under pressure” in NI last week with the U3 price back by 5p/kg to 357.7p/kg and the R3 price back by 2.4p/kg to 357.5p/kg.
The LMC stressed that deadweight cow trade in NI also came under pressure with the average cow price back by 2.1p/kg to 247.1p/kg.
The O3 cow price came back by 2.8p/kg to 275.8p/kg last week. Despite this decline, it concluded, the NI O3 cow price is still the strongest in the UK.