Base quotes from the plants for in spec U-3 grade prime cattle remained steady in Northern Ireland this week.
They ranged from 322-330p/kg with quotes for next week increasing slightly to 322-332p/kg, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission.
The majority of plants are quoting 328-330p/kg for steers and heifers. Base quotes for O+3 grade cows this week ranged from 230-256p/kg with quotes of 230-250p/kg for early next week, the LMC added.
“The deadweight cattle trade has continued to firm in NI. A tightening in prime cattle supplies for slaughter, combined with steady demand from the major processing plants, have contributed to the upward movement in the market.”
“The plants have reported good supplies of prime cattle coming forward for slaughter with a total of 6,904 head killed locally last week.” the LMC added.
Total throughput of prime cattle
This, the LMC pointed out, brings total throughput of prime cattle for 2019 to date to 320,960 head, a three per cent increase when compared to the 311,595 prime cattle killed in the same period in 2018.
Cow throughput in NI recorded an increase last week to 2,297 cows; this brings the total cow throughput in local plants to 91,669 head during 2019 to date, a 5.2 per cent decrease when compared to the same period in 2018 when 96,729 cows were killed.
“Imports of prime cattle for direct slaughter last week consisted of 310 prime cattle and 47 cows from ROI with eight steers and 88 cows imported from GB for direct slaughter in NI plants.”
“Exports of cattle out of NI for direct slaughter to ROI last week continued at relatively similar levels to previous weeks with seven prime cattle and 33 cows exported.”
The average steer price in NI last week was up by 3.7p/kg to 327.2p/kg while the R3 steer price increased by 3p/kg to 336.1p/kg when compared to the previous week.
Meanwhile, the average heifer price recorded an increase of just over a penny 330p/kg with the R3 heifer price up by a similar margin to 337.5p/kg.
The average young bull price last week increased by 3.4p/kg to 312p/kg while the R3 young bull price was up by 6.1p/kg to 324.6p/kg.
The average cow price in NI last week decreased by 1.6p/kg to 223.9p/kg with the O3 cow price back by 2.2p/kg to 249.9p/kg.
There were variations across the regions in the R3 heifer price with increases reported in Scotland (+1.5p/kg) and Southern England (+0.6p/kg) and decreases reported in the Midlands (-1.4p/kg) and Northern England (-0.7p/kg), according to the LMC.
“The deadweight trade in ROI for prime cattle last week generally held steady in euro terms; however, with a weakening in the euro has meant steer and heifer prices were back in sterling terms.”
The R3 steer price decreased last week by the equivalent of 0.8p/kg to 293.5p/kg, while the R3 heifer price decreased by a similar margin to 301.2p/kg.
“The cow trade continued to come under pressure in ROI last week with the O3 price back by just under a penny to 221.9p/kg.”