Prime and cull cow beef gap narrows to 30c/kg – steers fall to €4/kg

Beef prices have fallen this week as a result of difficult export markets and more cattle coming available for slaughter.

This has resulted in the base quotes for heifers and steers dropping by 5c/kg.

The price paid for beef has fallen 7% since the last week in July with the base heifer and steer price down by 30c/kg since July 22.

Plants are offering a base price of 400c/kg for steers while the majority of plants are purchasing heifers at 410c/kg.

This fall in beef price has occurred despite forward and beef cattle remaining strong in the country’s marts with prices of €2.18-2.83/kg and €2.21-2.70/kg respectively for steers and heifers.

Processors have also cut the price paid for cull cows with the P grade cows falling by 5/kg.

The R grade cows are generally unchanged from a base price of 370c/kg. However, the gap between cull cow and prime steer beef continues to narrow from 45c/kg in the first week of August to 30c/kg this week.

The price paid for O type cows has also dropped. Quotes for these dairy types have fallen by 5/kg to a base price of 350c/kg, with Kepak the only processor resisting the urge to drop the cull cow base price.

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According to Bord Bia, the further ease in the cattle trade occurred on the back of difficult market conditions.

Cumulative supplies for the year to date are down 4% on 2014 figures and are currently sitting at 980,000 head.

Bord Bia also reports that the trade remains sluggish in the UK on the back of mixed weather coupled with seasonality effects.

The trade for manufacturing products is hardest hit, particularly forequarters, while demand for steak cuts remains strong, it says.

In France, the market continues to remain difficult with the main focus from retailers on domestically produced products.

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