There is a more positive feel to the beef trade this week, with more appetite from factory agents for finished stock compared with last week.

Factories are gearing up for the busy Christmas trade and are busy themselves lining up supplies for the next few weeks, the peak killing period for the festive season.

Bullocks continue to trade off €4.50/kg to €4.55/kg base price, with heifers moving at €4.60/kg to €4.65/kg.

Hereford and Angus bonuses of 10c to 20c/kg are available on in-spec cattle and all quoted prices exclude the 20c/kg in-spec bonus.

Foyle Meats continues to lead with its base quote of €4.65/kg for bullocks and €4.70/kg for heifers.


The cow trade remains under pressure with higher numbers of poorer-quality cows coming out adding more pressure this week.

Some factories quoting €3.80/kg to €3.90/kg this week for P grading cows, but most are paying more when these cows are part of a bigger load of cattle.

O grading cows are working off €4.00/kg to €4.20/kg, with R grading cows coming in at €4.30/kg to €4.40/kg.

The cow kill increased by over 1,000 head two weeks ago on the back of more dairy cows being slaughtered.

In conjunction with this, the prime cattle kill has started to fall, which will be positive for farmers with finished cattle on hand. Storing animals

Factory agents are reporting very few farmers with large numbers of cattle on hand at the moment, with a lot of smaller operators choosing to store animals over the winter months and go back to grass for a summer finish.

Others have opted to kill lighter coming off grass in autumn 2022.

This has elevated numbers in the last few weeks and kept a lid on the trade, but it should bode well for the 2023 outlook.

Some factories specialising in cows are applying 5c to 10c/kg more, especially for good-quality young cows.

Mart trade

The mart trade for good-quality young cows took a lift towards the end of last week, with a number of northern wholesale agents back around the ring again in the south hoovering up factory-fit cows.

Finished cattle are in short supply north of the border and this has meant there has been more interest in southern cattle over the last week.

The bull trade remains in a similar position this week, with R and U grading bulls working off €4.50/kg to €4.60/kg.

O and P grading bulls are back at €4.30/kg to €4.40/kg. Under-16-month bulls are working off a base quote of €4.55/kg to €4.60/kg.