NORTHERN IRELAND - Prime cattle supplies were strong in Northern Ireland last week, with cattle throughput being the second highest for 2015.
This is according to the Livestock and Meat Commission's weekly Bulletin which reported quotes for U-3 grade steers and heifers ranged from 348- 352p/kg across the major plants with quotes for Monday morning expected to be in the region of 344-350p/kg.
Quotes for cows have remained unchanged with the majority of plants quoting 250-254p/kg for good quality O+3 cows.
The plants have reported steady supplies of cattle coming forward for slaughter to meet demand with 7,043 prime cattle slaughtered last week. This was an increase of 76 head from the previous week and is the second highest weekly prime kill for 2015 so far.
Total throughput for 2015 to date has totalled 66,054 head compared to 64,007 head killed in the same period in 2014. This accounts for a three per cent increase in throughput year on year.
The cow kill in NI last week totalled 1,482 head bringing throughput for the year to date to 15,946 head, similar to year earlier levels when 16,079 cows were killed. Imports of cattle for direct slaughter from ROI last week consisted of 542 prime cattle and 77 cows with a further 35 cows imported from GB for direct slaughter.
Imports of prime cattle accounted for eight per cent of total prime cattle throughput in NI last week, similar to the corresponding week in 2014.
Exports of cattle to ROI last week for direct slaughter consisted of 36 prime cattle and 217 cows while no cattle were exported from NI to GB last week for direct slaughter. The average steer price in NI last week was 347.7p/kg, back 2.4p/kg from the previous week.
Meanwhile, the R3 steer price was back by 3.5p/kg to 357.3p/kg, representing a drop of 10.4p/kg from the 368.1p/kg paid for R3 steers in the week ending 10 January 2015. The average heifer price in NI last week was back in the region of 1p/kg to 350.8p/kg while the R3 heifer price held steady at 357.9p/kg.
The deadweight cattle trade has held steady in GB with average prices for steers and heifers in all reporting regions last week within 1p/kg of the previous week. The R3 steer price in GB last week was unchanged at 365.2p/kg, 7.9p/kg higher than the equivalent price in NI, while the R3 heifer price was within half a penny of the previous week at 365.3p/kg.
The R3 heifer price in NI last week was 7.4p/kg lower than the average GB price and was the lowest in the UK. The prime cattle kill in ROI last week totalled 24,282 head bringing throughput for the year to date to 240,204 head.
This was an increase of 4,927 head from the same period in 2014 when 235,277 prime cattle were killed. This represents a two per cent increase in throughput.
The strong supplies of cattle coming forward for slaughter in ROI has put pressure on deadweight prices. A drop in prices in euro terms combined with the further weakening in euro against sterling resulted in R3 steer prices to be back by the equivalent of 3.7p/kg to 293.8p/kg while the R3 heifer price was back by the equivalent of 5p/kg to 302.1p/kg. This puts the NI-ROI differential at 63.5p/kg for R3 grade steers and 55.8p/kg for R3 grade heifers.TheCattleSite News Desk