Processors are applying pressure to the trade for finished cattle and fat lambs with reduced quotes and lower prices on offer.

Base quotes for prime cattle are down 2p/kg to 466p/kg for U-3 grading animals with reports suggesting the actual prices paid for steers and heifers are back 2p to 4p/kg, leaving deals around 484p to 486p/kg for top grades.

Young bulls are facing greater pressure with prices back 4p to 6p/kg this week, putting deals around 478p/kg for animals meeting specifications for carcase weight, age and conformation.

There are also reports of farmers encountering delays of one to two weeks before bulls move for slaughter, causing frustration as animals run the risk of exceeding weight and age limits.


Cull cows remain a solid trade with good quality animals making 370p to 390p/kg, whereas older, plainer types are moving closer to base prices of around 360p/kg.

In the marts, good quality cows are freely making 220p to 240p/kg, equating to deadweight prices around 400p/kg and above.

Finished steers and heifers continue to trade around 280p to 290p/kg, which converts to factory prices above 490p/kg.

Price difference

Local processors maintain that the beef trade has softened and that is reflected in prices coming down in Britain and the Republic of Ireland in recent weeks.

Prime cattle in Britain have slipped to the mid 490p/kg range, down 6p/kg during the past fortnight, although there are some plants in Scotland still paying 500p/kg for U grading heifers.

Prices in the Irish Republic are on €5.50/kg for U grading animals, once all premiums are included, which converts to a sterling equivalent of 444p/kg.

However, there are signs supplies south of the Irish border are starting to tighten, potentially leading to an upturn in the trade in the coming weeks.


Mart prices for fat lambs are down by £10 to £12 this week with factory-fit animals returning £165 to £170/head.

With the mart trade easing, factories have moved to cap prices around 800p/kg for slaughter-fit lambs.

Read more

Beef price update: €5/kg base with some early signs of throughput easing

Irish Charolais Cattle Society appoints new breed secretary