Beef quotes hold firm as prices remain low

Beef prices remained steady in spite of increases in supplies being marketed last week. This is according to Bord Bia’s latest market update, however it notes demand from key export markets remains challenging.

Bord Bia outlined that the trade for in-spec prime cattle this week showed little change on previous weeks. The majority of steers were purchased during week at a base price of around €3.95 to €4.00 /kg on the Quality Payment System. Heifers are continuing to trade at a base price of between €4.00 to €4.05/kg. These prices exclude the €0.12/kg bonus which is payable on in-spec QA animals. While prices paid for O grade cull cows remain unchanged and are making between €2.95 to €3.10/kg.

In Britain Bord Bia highlight the trade remains slow overall with plentiful supplies to meet current demand levels. It said demand for beef remains slow with manufacturing product slower than expected. Latest reported cattle prices from the AHDB remain steady with GB R4L grade steers averaging at Stg 375.0 pence/kg dw (equivalent to 457.2 cent/kg dw).

In France, trade remains sluggish however some improvement is expected with promotions starting to build in advance of St Patricks Day, according to Bord Bia. It also said similar to other key markets, the Italian market is also challenging with promotional activity planned to help stimulate demand.

Back at home national average factory prices for steers, cows, heifers for the week 17 -23 February 2014, as reported by the Department of Agriculture this afternoon, are as follows:

Steers

Factory prices received by farmers for steers have held at a base in the region of €4/kg for a number of weeks now and came under increased pressure last week. National average prices paid for U=3= cattle was 403c/kg last week which represents a €0.03 fall when compared to the previous week. For cattle in the R=3= grade 393c/kg was received on average by farmers which was a €0.05 fall on the previous week. While for O=3= steers farmers received on average 386c/kg also which was also a €0.05 fall on the previous week.

Cows

Cow prices stabilised to some extent last week after they were particularly hard hit the previous week. Average cow factory prices were up to some degree last week. Top class U=3= cows were up on average making 353c/kg up €0.13 on the previous week. R=3= grade cows last week were receiving 323c/kg on average, up €0.03 on the previous week. Poorer grading O=3= were also up slightly last week at 290c/kg a rise of €0.04.

Heifers

Heifer factory prices were also not immune to downward pressure across all grade classes in recent weeks. Quotes for heifers were generally in the region of €4/kg base price. Quality U=3= heifers were making 430c/kg on average last week down €0.02 on the previous week. Farmers killing R=3= heifers were receiving 409c/kg on average which is down €0.02 on the previous week. O=3= heifers average prices were 395c/kg which shows no change on the previous week.

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