It is evident there is plenty of life in the beef trade in the first full trading week of 2023 with base prices up at least 2p per kg across the grades from a week ago.

The Livestock and Meat Commission reports that the beef price now ranges from 430p to 440p per kg but deals have been going through to farmers at prices well above those. Some U3 cattle have been bought at almost 460p per kg.

Another aspect of the beef trade is the rise in cull cow prices.

The throughput of cows in NI processing plants during 2022 has remained significantly ahead of previous years.

The NI cow kill totalled 118,872 head during 2022 which was an increase of 14,178 head or 13.5 per cent from the 2021 kill which totalled 104,694 head.

In addition to seeing the highest weekly cow kill which totalled 3,307 head during the w/e 12 November, cow throughput during 2022 was the highest on record in NI.

Throughput during the first two quarters of 2022 was also a notable 20 per cent ahead of the same period in 2020 when 45,869 cows were killed in local plants.

During the third quarter of 2022 cow throughput remained ahead of 2021 levels by five per cent, and during the final three months of 2022 cow throughput in NI totalled 35,251 head, a 12 per cent increase on the 31,503 cows killed in the same period in 2021.

The deadweight cow trade in NI remained ahead of previous years during 2022.

During 2022 the average O3 cow price was 349.6p/kg on average, compared to 299.7p/kg on average throughout 2021.

Moreover the average cow price in NI during 2022 was 321.3p/kg up by 47.5p/kg year on year or the equivalent of £142.50 on a 300kg carcase.

Recent reports from industry have indicated a firm demand for cows across the local marts, especially for well fleshed cows that can be finished within a short period of time.

Beef from cull cattle is the primary source of minced beef and therefore cow beef is in high demand with the latest survey of the retail market completed by Kantar Worldpanel for 2022 reporting consumers are purchasing more minced beef products as they manage their reduced expenditure, while mince provides a valuable and accessible protein source in the face of rising costs.