The number of beef cattle processed last week at factories approved for slaughter by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has decreased marginally when compared to the previous week’s kill.

While the total number of cattle processed has decreased by 179 head (including veal), the number of prime cattle processed dropped by over 800 head when compared to the previous week’s kill.

Despite this, the number of cows processed increased to 9,323 – making the kill for the week ending Sunday, December 5, the highest weekly kill of cows so far this year.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:

  • Young bulls: 3,921 head (+272 head);
  • Bulls: 488 head (-26 head);
  • Steers: 11,959 head (-1,192 head);
  • Cows: 9,323 head (+668 head);
  • Heifers: 10,228 head (+108 head);
  • Total (including veal): 35,355 head (-179 head).

Cow numbers tend to increase at this time of the year as dairy farmers drying off cows for the winter turn out cows identified for culling to the factory.

In this week’s factory quotes article, it was outlined that procurement officers are seeing a large amount of ‘P1’ grade cows coming straight from the parlor presently.

Cows are currently making up over a quarter of the weekly kill and according to DAFM’s reports, over 70% of cows processed last week graded an O- or below.

Excluding veal, the beef kill is running 72,934 head of cattle behind this time last year and 2021 is set to close out with a strong beef price.

Factory beef quotes

Looking at this week’s factory quotes and starting with heifers, €4.30/kg on the grid was quoted to Agriland this week from a number of processors in the northern half of the republic, with one processor in the northwest quoting €4.35/kg on the grid along with a 10c/kg bonus for in-spec animals with a carcass weight of between 300-400kgs.

This would leave an in-spec Angus heifer grading an R3 with a carcass weight of 350kg coming into €4.85/kg at this particular Donegal-based factory.

Despite this, some processors opened quotes at €4.25/kg for heifers but are having to pay more to secure any significant numbers.

Next up is steers and €4.25/kg on the grid is the general run this week, with the same Donegal-based processor putting forward a quote of €4.30/kg for steers and the same 10c/kg carcass weight bonus available across all categories.

Looking at cows and good, well fleshed, U-grading cows are comfortably securing over €4.00/kg from processors buying larger numbers of cows this week.

Plainer cows in their respective grades are securing €3.85, €3.65 and €3.55/kg for R, O and P-grade cows respectively, with up to 10c/kg more available for well fleshed, better-type cows in their respective grades.

Looking at under-24 month bulls, and U-grade bulls are being quoted at a flat-price of €4.30/kg.

€4.20, €4.00 and €3.90/kg is on offer for ‘middle of the road’ R, O and P-grade bulls respectively, with more money to be secured for better-type bulls in their respective grades.

Finally, under-16 month bulls are generally quoted at €4.20/kg on the grid, with more money available in some cases.