Beef trade remains steady in Northern Ireland

The Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) is reporting that the deadweight cattle trade in Northern Ireland (NI) has remained relatively steady with base quotes for in spec U-3 grade prime cattle ranging from 334- 338p/kg (€3.71 – €3.75) this week.

Quotes for good quality O+3 grade cows were unchanged ranging from 240-250p/kg (€2.67 – €2.78) across the plants.

Reports from the major processors have indicated a continuous increase in the number of prime cattle coming forward for slaughter during the last few weeks.

Prime cattle throughput in the North last week totalled 6,740 head, an increase of 44 head from the previous week and the highest throughput since mid-April this year. In the corresponding week in 2015 a total of 6,260 prime cattle were slaughtered locally which accounts for an 8% increase year-on-year.

Cow throughput has also continued to increase over the last few weeks with a total of 2,313 head killed in the North’s plants last week, an increase of 46 head from the previous week.

In the corresponding week in 2015 a total of 1,997 cows were slaughtered in Northern Ireland accounting for a 16% increase year-on-year.

Due to the unfavourable exchange rate imports of cattle from the Republic of Ireland for direct slaughter last week were minimal with a total of 12 prime cattle and 6 cows imported for local slaughter.

This was well below the corresponding week in 2015 when 551 prime cattle and 153 cows were imported for slaughter.

Meanwhile, a total of 177 cows were exported from the North for direct slaughter in the Republic last week, compared to 293 cows during the same week in 2015.

A further 154 prime cattle and 31 cows were exported from the North to Britain for direct slaughter last week, lower than the corresponding period in 2015 when 243 prime cattle and 51 cows were exported there.

The deadweight trade for prime cattle has generally weakened with the average steer price last week back by 1p to 330.4p/kg (€3.67) while the R3 steer price decreased by 0.6p/kg to 340p/kg (€3.78).

The average heifer price in Northern Ireland last week was back by half a penny to 333.9p/kg (€3.71) while the R3 heifer price decreased by 2.2p/kg to 339.7p/kg (€3.78).

The average cow price in last week recorded a decrease of 6.1p/kg to 223p/kg (€2.48) while the O3 cow price was back by 3.4p/kg to 249.9p/kg (€2.78).