‘Farmers should consider all options as beef and lamb prices rise’

With factory quotes for prime cattle, cull cows and lambs continuing to increase week-on-week, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is encouraging members to explore all revenues before selling stock.

Lambs are making approximately £5.30/kg. However, deals of £5.40/kg and above have been noted as factories are actively sourcing to meet market demands.

Live market trade is very strong for prime cattle and cull cows as well as lambs, with several processors in the Republic purchasing lambs weighing up to 23kg. Lamb prices in Britain have also been improving.

UFU beef and lamb chairman Sam Chesney said, “Local trade has been positive for several reasons. A number of GB sheep processors are having difficulties exporting sheep meat to mainland Europe but this is expected to be straightened out in the coming weeks.

Our advice to farmers is to sell lambs when they are in prime condition. A market spec of 21/22kg is ideal with a fat class three to gain the most from the market.

“Prime cattle prices are starting in around £3.80/kg with deals up to £3.90 being done with regular customers. These prices are very similar to Great Britain which our local producers are glad to see.

“Live market trade for heavy and well-fleshed steers and butcher type heifers, is in high demand at the moment.

“Beef producers should sell their cattle to market specification to gain the best returns. Retail demand and tight supplies are two of the main reasons for the increased beef demand and this is happening in Republic of Ireland too.

“Our beef farmers need to make this work to their advantage.”