Beef trade: No St. Patrick’s Day boost for prices

Beef buyers have moved to stabilse the market somewhat over recent days and the trade has failed to lift following the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

For the most part, factory buyers are offering 395-400c/kg for steers and 405-410c/kg for heifers. However, some deals are being done at higher prices.

Looking at recent market returns, in-spec, R3 (R+3=) steers made a top price of 416.54c/kg during the week ending March 11; the average price stood closer to 412c/kg.

Moving to heifers, in-spec, R3 (R+3=) heifers traded for an average price of 426.45c/kg during the week ending March 11 and the top lots realised 433.62c/kg. However, it must be noted that these prices are inclusive of breed-specific and QA (Quality Assurance) bonuses where applicable.

As has been the case in recent weeks, cow prices continue to be steady. Factory buyers are currently starting negotiations with farmers at 320c/kg for P-grade cows, 330c/kg for O-grade animals and 350c/kg for R-grade lots.

Supplies

After the snow affected trading during the week ending March 4, beef cattle supplies returned to more normalised levels during the week ending March 11.

In total, some 36,920 cattle were processed in Department of Agriculture approved beef export plants; steer and heifer throughput stood at 13,330 head and 9,647 head respectively.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:
  • Young bulls: 4,966 head (+3,533 head);
  • Bulls: 885 head (+527 head);
  • Steers: 13,330 head (+4,486 head);
  • Cows: 7,028 head (+2,360 head);
  • Heifers: 9,647 head (+2,316 head);
  • Total: 36,920 head (+11,176 head).

Some 333,618 cattle were slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved beef export plants this year. When compared to the same time last year, that’s a decrease of 1,553 head or 0.5%.

So far this year, 52,334 young bulls have been processed in Irish factories – up by 2,952 head when compared to the corresponding period in 2017.

Meanwhile, the number of cows slaughtered in Irish plants has actually decreased on the quantity witnessed during the corresponding period in 2017. Between January 1 and March 11, some 65,649 cows were processed in Irish plants.

Year-on-year beef kill changes:
  • Young bulls: 52,334 head (+2,952 head or +6%);
  • Bulls: 5,011 head (+716 head or +16.7%);
  • Steers: 109,057 head (-4,049 head or -3.6%);
  • Cows: 65,659 head (-2,618 head or -3.8%);
  • Heifers: 97,018 head (+695 head or +0.7%);
  • Total: 333,618 head (-1,553 head or -0.5%).