Beef trade: Floor placed under prices by northern trade

Talk north of the border revolves around the tight supplies of factory-fit steers and heifers. This, in turn, has resulted in improved base quotes available from beef processing plants.

However, while this is the case for the prime trade, cow prices have held steady. In terms of supplies, during the week ending June 7, some 6,748 prime cattle were processed in Northern Ireland.

This represents an increase of 1,101 head from the 5,647 prime cattle processed during the previous week, and is the highest weekly throughput of prime cattle recorded in Northern Ireland since the first week of April 2020.

In the case of cows, throughput also increased during that week with 1,878 cows processed. This was an increase from the 1,645 cows processed during the previous week and the highest level of throughput recorded since mid-March of this year.

As base quotes in the north improve, there has been a notable increase in the number of Irish finished animals traveling across the border.

beef naughten HSA

During the week ending June 7, the number of Irish cattle sent for slaughter in Northern Ireland peaked over 1,000 head. In fact, 714 Irish heifers and bullocks – and 325 Irish cows – were slaughtered in Northern Ireland.

This is up from the 463 steers and heifers and 130 cows slaughtered during the previous week.

In the south, quotes for prime cattle continue at 360c/kg. Farmers that have an in-spec heifer or bullock may be able to secure an extra 5c/kg; this depends on the number ready to market and factory-farmer relationship.

Prices for cows are 280c/kg for P-grading animals and up to 290c/kg for O-grade cows, with those falling into the R-grade category starting at 310-315c/kg or higher in some plants.

In terms of bulls, O-grading animals are making 340c/kg; R-grade quotes stand at 350c/kg; with U-grades slightly higher at 360c/kg.