“Mixed” was the word the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) used when describing Northern Ireland’s beef trade this week.
It reported that base quotes for in-spec U-3 grading steers and heifers ranged from 384-394p/kg across plants.
Quotes for O+3 grading cows ended this week ranged from 280-302p/kg.
The LMC spokesperson said: “The deadweight cattle trade in NI reported a mixed performance last week compared to the previous week.”
Northern Ireland’s beef trade
The average NI steer price decreased by almost 2p/kg to 390.6p/kg, while the R3 steer price was back by 2.6p/kg to 399.7p/kg.
On the other hand, the average NI heifer price was up 1.3p/kg to 395p/kg, while the R3 heifer price “remained steady” at 401.9p/kg.
Furthermore, the average young bull price in NI was back by 1.3p/kg to 383.8p/kg, while the R3 young bull price fell almost a penny to 392.4p/kg.
The average cow price in NI rose by 0.3p/kg from the previous week to 290.3p/kg, while the O3 cow price dropped 2.4p/kg to 315.2p/kg.
The LMC reported that 6,876 prime cattle were processed in NI beef processing plants last week. Throughput was up 367 head from the 6,509 prime cattle plants processed the previous week.
This is also an increase from the same week last year, when plants processed 6,192 prime cattle.
Cow throughput also increased last week, with 2,344 processed in local plants – up from the 2,167 cows processed during the previous week. This is also an increase from the 1,896 cows processed in the same week in 2020.
Exports and imports
Imports from ROI for direct slaughter in local plants last week comprised 455 prime cattle and 109 cows with no cattle imported from GB for direct slaughter locally.
Meanwhile, exports of cattle out of NI for direct slaughter last week “continued to run at low levels”. This consignment consisted of 10 prime cattle and 42 cows, while no cattle ventured to GB for direct slaughter.
GB beef prices
The LMC reported that the average GB steer price rose by 0.2p/kg to 409.2p/kg. The average R3 steer price reported a decrease of 0.4p/kg to 414.9p/kg.
“This places the R3 steer price at 15.2p/kg above the equivalent price in NI,” it remarked in its weekly market report.
The average heifer price in GB last week was 408.2p/kg, up 1.1p/kg from the previous week. The R3 heifer price increased by 1.7p/kg from the previous week to 415.6p/kg. This, the LMC pointed out, puts the R3 heifer price in GB at 13.7p/kg above NI levels.
“The average cow price in GB increased by 0.4p/kg to 294.7p/kg last week, while the O3 cow price in GB increased by a greater 1.2p/kg from the previous week to 320.7p/kg.”
ROI beef prices
“The deadweight cattle trade in ROI came under pressure last week, with the R3 steer price back 5p/kg from the previous week to the equivalent of 360.3p/kg.”
“The R3 heifer price decreased by a similar margin last week to the equivalent of 362.6p/kg.”
“Meanwhile, last week, the O3 cow price was the equivalent of 297p/kg back almost 3p/kg from the previous week and 18.2p/kg below the same price in NI.”
Read more beef price updates.