NORTHERN IRELAND - Beef market analysts in Northern Ireland are urging producers to 'shop around' as processors are offering a wide range of quotes for prime beef.
Last week's quotes for U-3 grade steers and heifers remained similar to previous weeks at 348-350p/kg.
Some plants have quoted 344-346p/kg for early next week while others have remained at 348-350p/kg.
Quotes for good quality O+3 grade cows ranged from 230-250p/kg across the plants this week.
Prime cattle throughput in NI last week totalled 6,940 head taking throughput for the month of October to 33,769 head. This is 1,741 head lower than the corresponding period in 2013 when 35,510 head were slaughtered and accounts for a five per cent reduction in throughput year on year.
However, an increase in the average prime cattle carcase weight from 325kg in October 2013 to 333kg in October 2014 has helped to offset some of this decline in prime cattle throughput with the carcase volume processed down 2.8 per cent year on year.
Cow throughput in the NI plants last week was the highest for the year to date at 2,157 head. This brings total cow throughput for October to 9,323 head, 16 per cent lower than October 2013 when throughput totalled 11,104 head.
Average cow carcase weights have also increased from 297kg in October 2013 to 302kg in October 2014. Imports of prime cattle from ROI for direct slaughter declined for the third consecutive week last week with 519 head imported.
This takes total imports of prime cattle for October to 3,611 head, very similar to the corresponding period in 2013 when 3,624 head were imported.
Meanwhile exports from NI to ROI for direct slaughter during October consisted of 1,181 cows and 16 prime cattle with a further 1,219 prime cattle and 325 cows exported to GB for direct slaughter during the same period.
In NI last week the average steer price was up 2.5p/kg to 339p/kg while the R3 steer price was within a penny of the previous week at 349.2p/kg.
Meanwhile in GB the average steer price was unchanged at 349.9p/kg while the R3 steer price increased by 2.2p/kg to 357.3p/kg, write market analysts at the Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland.
R3 steer prices recorded an increase in all the GB regions last week with the strongest increase in Northern England where the R3 steer price increased by 3p/kg to 353.4p/kg.
The differential in R3 steer prices between NI and GB was 8p/kg last week however there is some variance shown across the GB regions, write LMC analysts. R3 steer prices in Southern England and the Midlands were around 3.5p/kg lower than the NI price while prices in Northern England and Scotland were 4.2p/kg and 28.6p/kg higher respectively.
The average heifer price in NI last week was unchanged at 344.1p/kg while the R3 heifer price increased by 1.6p/kg to 350.9p/kg.
Meanwhile in GB the average heifer price was within a penny of the previous week at 353.6p/kg while the R3 heifer price was back by 1.6p/kg to 356.5p/kg.
This put the differential in R3 heifer prices between NI and GB at 5.6p/kg. The deadweight cattle trade in ROI last week recorded an improvement in euro terms but a decline in the strength of the euro against sterling has meant prices have remained steady in sterling terms.
The R3 steer price in ROI last week was the equivalent of 282.8p/kg, 66.4p/kg lower than the NI price. The R3 heifer price in ROI last week was the equivalent of 289.9p/kg, 61p/kg lower than the NI price.TheMeatSite News Desk