Beef factory trade remains steady with little movement in price

Beef factory prices have remained steady for another week with most factories continuing to operate off a base price of 380c/kg for steers and 390c/kg for heifers.

Like last week, farmers with numbers are finding it easier to secure an additional 5c/kg on top of the base price, but factories remain slow on increasing the base price offered for cattle.

Over the past two weeks, procurement mangers have been willing to pay an extra 5c/kg for the right type of cattle in a bid to increase throughput.

And this move appears to have worked, with official figures from the Department showing a 10% jump in prime cattle slaughterings during the week ending August 14.

Figures from the Department show that the throughput of young bulls, steers and heifers increased by just over 2,200 head during the week ending August 14 compared to the week before.

In total, an additional 2,285 cattle were presented for slaughter in the second week of August.

Steers, heifers and young bulls accounted for the majority of this increase, with throughput numbers jumping by 8.9% (1,108 head), 17.8% (414 head) and 11% (696 head) respectively.

Official figures also show that there was only a small increase in cow throughput during the second week of August, with the kill increasing by just 11 head.

And, as a result cull cow factory prices have remained relatively stable over the past couple of weeks, with the majority of plants still working off a base price of 310-320c/kg for R grades, 290c/kg for P grades and 280c/kg for the dairy type O grade cows.

Cattle prices
  • Steers: 380c/kg
  • Heifers: 390c/kg
  • R grade cows: 310-320c/kg
  • O grade cows: 290c/kg
  • P grade cows: 280c/kg

Main markets

According to Bord Bia, the British beef trade continues to remain firm due to tighter supplies, while the fine weather has helped with demand for barbeque products.

It says that the a weaker Sterling is making imported product from other Eurozone countries less competitive, but it is also boosting British beef exports.

Last week, the AHDB (the body for British beef and lamb) reported that British R4L steers made 358.6p/kg (414c/kg) and Northern Irish R3 steers made the equivalent of about 392c/kg.

Meanwhile, Bord Bia also reports that there has been little change in the French beef market, as it still remains difficult getting imported beef onto retail shelves.

French retailers have continued to focus on domestically produced beef, with most promotions focusing on French origin mice, burgers, fillets and roasting joints.

Like France, Bord Bia also reports that there has beef very little movement in the Italian beef trade, with the latest prices for R3 young bulls sitting at 376c/kg.