Last week, the beef heifer price gap between Northern Ireland and the Republic narrowed to 20.5p/kg (the equivalent of 28.1c/kg), the latest Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) figures show.

For the week ending May 30, the deadweight cattle trade in the Republic improved in euro terms for all reported grades, it says.

The LMC says that this was in response to tighter availability of cattle for slaughter.

A weakening euro against Sterling has meant that R3 steer and heifer prices were back in the region of 1p/kg to 291.1p/kg (399.4c/kg) and 299.1p/kg (410.4c/kg) respectively, it says.

This puts the differential between the North and the Republic in Sterling terms at 31.5p/kg (43.2c/kg) for R3 steers and 20.5p/kg (28.1c/kg) for R3 grade heifers, the LMC says.

In the North last week the deadweight cattle trade came under pressure with prices coming back in response to lower quotes from the plants, it says.

The average steer price in Northern Ireland last week was back by 1.7p/kg to 312.2p/kg while the R3 steer price was back by 2.5p/kg to 322.6p/kg, it says.

This takes the R3 steer price to its lowest level since early September 2014, the LMC says.

The average heifer price in Northern Ireland last week was back by 5.9p/kg to 311.8p/kg while the R3 heifer price was back by 6.7p/kg to 319.6p/kg, it says.

The LMC says that while the deadweight trade in the North has continued to come under pressure the trade in UK has shown some signs of stabilising.

The average steer price in the UK last week was 328.9p/kg, up 2.5p/kg from the previous week with the average steer price increasing in all the UK regions, it says.

The average heifer price in UK last week was unchanged at 329.4p/kg while the R3 heifer price was up in the region of 1p/kg to 332.7p/kg, it says.