Beef prices remain unchanged – Weekly kill passes 31,000 head

Beef prices continue to remain unchanged this week, despite the weekly beef kill surpassing 30,000 head, according to procurement managers across the country.

The majority of processors are offering 390c/kg for base steers on the grid, while farmers are generally being quoted 400-405c/kg for base heifers, they say.

Meanwhile, key export markets for cow beef continue to remain difficult, but despite this difficulty, R grade cows are being quoted at 320-340c/kg.

Farmers are generally being offered 300-320c/kg for O grade cows, while the poorer quality P types are making 290-310c/kg.

Weekly kill

Figures from the Department of Agriculture’s beef kill data shows that the total number of cattle supplied to export plants stood at 31,000 during the first week of 2016.

This about 8,000 head higher than the same week in 2015, it says.

The total throughput of cattle in 2015 to beef export plants stood at 1.58m head, which is a decline of 5% or a drop of 85,000 head on 2014 levels.

Cumulatively, the number of heifers coming forward for slaughter were down 3%, it shows, while young bulls and cows were down 15% and 12% respectively.

However, despite the decline in the heifer, young bull and cow kill, steer throughput has risen 4% in 2015 compared to 2014.

 Key export markets

Trade was reported as slow across our key export markets for beef, according to Bord Bia.

Bord Bia says the British beef trade remains slow, despite some improvement over the Christmas period.

Cattle prices in Britain have eased slightly, it says, as they are currently making the equivalent of 451c/kg.

The French trade also remains slow due to a reduction in demand for steak cuts and increased competition from competitively priced products from both Poland and Germany.

However, despite the slow trade in both Britain and France, it says that the Italian trade remains stable following an uplift in trade over the Christmas period.