Prime cattle receive a price rise in Northern Ireland for the first week of 2021

As the conclusion of Brexit occurred on January 1, 2021, fortunately the live export trade of cattle to Northern Ireland for direct slaughter from the south will still be able to continue and be somewhat unaffected.

This week prime cattle received a slight rise in price compared to the week ending January 3. According to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), a rise of up to 4p/kg was noted in some plants as quotes for U-3-grades ranged from £3.60-3.68/kg (€3.98-4.07/kg).

R-3-grades were trading from £3.54-3.62/kg (€3.91-4.00/kg), while O-3-grades were valued at £3.48-3.56/kg (€3.85-3.94/kg). These quotes include bonuses where applicable.

It is reported that for the next week, these prime cattle will receive a rise again by 2p/kg in some factories across all grades. 

For the week ending January 2, R3-grading heifers were priced at £3.78/kg (€4.19/kg), while steers with a similar grade were priced at £3.80/kg (€4.21/kg).

In the cow trade this week, O+3 grades and better were valued similar to the previous week as prices of £2.40-2.65/kg (€2.65-2.93/kg) were on the table in most plants. Quotes are expected to range at £2.40-2.68/kg (€2.65-2.97/kg) for next week.

2020 throughput

For 2020, the total throughput of prime cattle processed in Northern Ireland amounted to 345,640 head, according to the LMC. This was a marginal rise of 969 head in the numbers slaughtered during 2019.

The numbers of cows processed also received a 5% rise last year compared to 2019, as the numbers killed tallied to 104,506 head.

For the week ending January 2, due to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, there was a reduced kill which resulted in just 4,688 head of prime cattle and 1,045 head of cow being processed.

Taking a look at the average carcass weight performance for 2020, prime cattle recorded an average dead weight of 345.7kg – which was an increase of 2.2kg from 2019.

Cows that were processed also had rise in carcass weight of 4.8kg from 2019, as they recorded an average dead weight of 312.6kg.