Beef prices in major processing plants across Northern Ireland remained steady this week, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission.
It reported that factories paid between 356-366p/kg for in-spec U-3 grade prime cattle. The majority of plants quoted 360-366p/kg for both steers and heifers. The cow trade also remained steady this week with quotes for O+3 grading cows at 240-260p/kg across the plants.
Similar quotes are expected for all types of cattle early next week, it noted.
Prime cattle throughput in NI last week decreased by 334 head from the previous week to total 6,933 head.
In the same week last year, 7,019 prime cattle were processed locally. Cow throughput in NI last week decreased by 466 head to total 1,693 head. This is also back 518 cows when compared to the corresponding week in 2019 when 2,211 cows were processed in local plants.
Imports of cattle from ROI for direct slaughter last week consisted of 310 prime cattle and 173 cows with a further 31 cows imported for direct slaughter from GB.
Exports of cattle out of NI for direct slaughter to ROI last week consisted of 16 prime cattle and 66 cows with no cattle making the journey to GB for direct slaughter.
Beef prices – NI
“The NI deadweight trade for prime cattle reported a strengthening in prices last week when compared to the previous week.”
The average NI steer price last week was up 3.5p/kg to 366.1p/kg, while the R3 steer price was up by 2.5p/kg to 374.3p/kg.
In the same week in 2019, R3 steer price in NI was 333.1p/kg. Last week the average heifer price in NI reported an increase of almost 3p/kg to 369.9p/kg. The R3 heifer price was up by 4.4p/kg to 377.7p/kg.
In the corresponding week last year, the R3 heifer price in NI was 336.6p/kg. Meanwhile, the average young bull price in NI last week decreased by 2.5p/kg to 348.9p/kg. In addition, the R3 young bull price increased by just over 3p/kg to 364p/kg.
The cow trade in NI also improved last week with the average cow price up slightly to 242.9p/kg. According to the commission, O3 cow price increased by almost 2p/kg to 266.9p/kg.
Beef prices – GB
“The GB deadweight trade for prime cattle also improved last week across the majority of grades.”
The average GB steer price was up 0.6p/kg to 374.6p/kg last week with the R3 steer price in GB up just over a penny to 381.9p/kg.
The differential in R3 steer prices between NI and GB last week narrowed to 7.6p/kg or £27 on a 350kg carcase, the LMC added.
The average heifer price in GB last week reported an increase of 1.4p/kg to 373.2p/kg. In addition, the R3 heifer price was up 2.7p/kg to 382p/kg.
The differential in R3 heifer prices between NI and GB last week narrowed to 4.3p/kg from the previous week.
Meanwhile, the cow trade in GB continued to come under pressure last week. Processors shaved 4.8p/kg off quotes for O3 cow prices back to 246.4p/kg. This, the LMC highlighted, puts it at 20.5p/kg below the same price in NI.
Beef prices – ROI
The R3 steer price in ROI last week increased by the equivalent of a penny to 325p/kg.
“This is 49.3p/kg behind the equivalent price in NI which puts the differential in the value of a 350kg carcase at £173.”
“The R3 heifer price in ROI last week increased by 0.8p/kg to the equivalent of 330.4p/kg which was 47.3p/kg behind the same price in NI. This puts the differential on a 320kg heifer carcase between the two regions at £151.”