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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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NI beef trade: Cull cows under pressure, prime cattle steady

Base quotes from the major NI processing plants ended this week ranging from 356-366p/kg for in spec U-3 grade prime cattle.

That is according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), who noted that quotes for Monday are expected to range from 356-368p/kg.

“With a range in the base quotes available, producers are encouraged to shop around for the best possible deal and use these quotes as a starting point for negotiation.”

Quotes for O+3 grading cows this week ranged from 250-260p/kg across the plants. Quotes for early next week expected to range from 240-260p/kg.


Prime cattle throughput last week totalled 7,456 head, the commission noted. This represents a decrease of almost 100 head from the previous week, although 573 head higher than the same week in 2019.

Cow throughput in NI last week recorded the highest weekly throughput to date in 2020 with 2,964 cows processed in local plants.

This is an increase of 300 cows from the previous week and 371 above the 2,593 cows processed in the corresponding week in 2019.

ROI cattle

Imports of prime cattle for direct slaughter last week increased to 385 head, comprising of 384 head from ROI with a further one steer from GB.

Cow imports for direct slaughter last week totalled 214 head, 161 of which were imported from ROI and a further 53 imported from GB.

Exports from NI to ROI consisted of 61 cows and three prime cattle with no cattle making the journey from NI to GB last week.


The NI average steer price last week decreased by 0.8p/kg to 359.6p/kg, the LMC outlined.

The R3 steer price decreased slightly from the previous week to 369.3p/kg. Meanwhile, the average heifer price increased by 0.4p/kg to 363.3p/kg with the R3 heifer price up just over a penny to 370.8p/kg.

The average young bull price was back 1.6p/kg to 343.3p/kg while the R3 young bull price was up by 1.2p/kg to 358.2p/kg.

“As anticipated, the cow trade in NI came under pressure last week with the average cow price back 1.5p/kg to 248.4p/kg. The O3 cow price decreased by 4.2p/kg to 273.3p/kg from the previous week.”

In GB last week, the average steer price was up 1.8p/kg to 370.1p/kg while the R3 steer price increased by 0.6p/kg to 376.9p/kg. This widened the differential in R3 steer prices with NI to 7.6p/kg from the previous week.

The average heifer price in GB last week increased by 1.8p/kg to 369.5p/kg while the R3 heifer price increased by 0.4p/kg to 376.6p/kg. This narrowed the differential last week between NI and GB to 5.8p/kg.


Meanwhile, the cow trade in GB came under pressure last week across all regions. The O3 cow price was back by 8.6p/kg from the previous week to 256.5p/kg, putting it at 16.8p/kg below the O3 cow price in NI.


“Deadweight prices for prime cattle in ROI held relatively steady in euro terms last week. A weakening in the euro against sterling has resulted in prices decreasing in sterling terms.”

The R3 steer price came back by just under 2p/kg to the equivalent of 326.3p/kg, 43p/kg below the same price in NI.

Meanwhile, the R3 heifer price decreased by 1.4p/kg to the equivalent of 331p/kg, 39.8p/kg below the R3 heifer price in NI.

Prime cattle throughput totalled 28,985 head in ROI last week, an increase of just over 4,000 prime cattle from the previous week.

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