Heifer prices up by €16/head in June – increase worth over €600,000 to farmers

The Irish heifer kill was dominated by U, R and O-grade animals during the month of June. Of the total heifer kill, these animals accounted for 87% of supplies or just over 36,660 head.

An analysis of the Department of Agriculture’s Meat Market Report shows that the average returns generated from these cattle increased by €16.83/head compared to the corresponding month in 2016.

This comes as the average price paid for U-grade heifers climbed by 7c/kg on 2016 levels, R-grade prices improved by 5c/kg and O-grade heifer returns jumped by 5c/kg.

Department figures show that 13% of all the heifers slaughtered during the month of June were U grade; a further 43% were classified as R grades; and another 31% sat in the O-grade category.

Taking these figures into account, it means that some 2,056t of U-grade beef, 5,791t of R-grade beef and 3,673t of O-grade beef was obtained from the heifers slaughtered in June.

And when the price increases mentioned above are considered, this means that an additional €143,889 was received for the U-grade animals slaughtered in June, R-grade returns jumped by €289,540 and O-grade prices improved by €183,644.

When looked at on an individual animal basis, this means that U-grade heifers improved by €26.46/head when compared to the same month in 2016. In addition, R and O-grade heifer prices increased by €15.94/head and €10.12/head respectively.

Beef cattle supplies approaching a four-year high

Furthermore, figures from the Department of Agriculture also show that Irish beef cattle supplies are approaching a four-year high.

As it stands, some 900,200 head of cattle have been processed in Irish plants this year. This is a considerable jump when compared to throughput levels observed in both 2016 and 2015.

Back in the corresponding period in 2016, some 857,885 head of cattle had been slaughtered in approved export plants. This figure stood at 862,832 head in the same period in 2015.

Just over 903,000 cattle were slaughtered in approved beef plants during the first 28 weeks of 2014. And with approximately 58,000 extra cattle set to come on stream before the year ends, the highs seen in 2014 look set to be surpassed in the not so distant future.

Cumulative beef cattle supplies:

Source: Department of Agriculture

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