Factories are continuing to apply downward pressure on the beef trade, although price reports indicate they are having limited success.

Official quotes are on 456p to 464p/kg for U-3 grading animals, but deals for in-spec steers and heifers remain similar to last week, with 482p to 486p/kg being paid.

However, there are mixed reports on the prices for young bulls, particularly animals close to breaching the 16-month age limit.

Some deals on offer are as low as 470p/kg with delays of close to two weeks before animals can move for slaughter. In contrast, reports from farmers suggest there are factories still paying 478p to 480p/kg, with no wait in getting animals processed.

Tight supplies

There are signs that processing demand is starting to run ahead of supplies coming on the market and this is weakening the ability of factory agents to reduce prices.

A number of farmers confirmed that they had booked steers and heifers for slaughter at the start of this week and had their cattle moved off farm within two to three days, with buying agents keen to secure numbers.

Mart managers also report a significant decline in throughput of heavy, slaughter-fit cattle. With limited numbers on offer, it is helping to underpin prices around the 280p/kg mark, which converts to a deadweight equivalent above 490p/kg.


Factories continue to cut lamb quotes with attempts to buy from a base of 700p to 710p/kg. But with marts returning £160 to £170, deals of 750p to 760p/kg have been paid.

Prices at Republic of Ireland plants are also around the 760p/kg mark, although that falls well short of the trade in Britain where new season lambs are making 830p to 850p/kg.

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