Last week’s overall beef kill witnessed a slight dip in the number of cattle processed when compared to the previous week’s kill.

Figures for the week ending Sunday, September 12, show that 34,251 head of cattle (including veal) were processed at factories approved for slaughter by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

This figure is a total of 246 head less than the 34,497 head of cattle processed in the previous week.

This year’s total beef kill to date is now just over 1.14 million head of cattle and is 75,988 head of cattle behind the number of cattle processed in the same time period last year.

Weekly beef kill changes (last week versus previous week)

  • Young bulls: 1,631 head (+257 head);
  • Bulls: 616 head (+17 head);
  • Steers: 17,277 head (-326 head);
  • Cows: 5,534 head (-245 head);
  • Heifers: 9,168 head (+49 head);
  • Total: 34,251 head [incl. veal] (-246 head).

The three most notable categories from last week’s kill are the young bull, steer and cow categories.

The young bull kill has increased as 2020’s suckler-bred male calves, that were finished as bulls, continue to come through the system.

Interestingly, the steer kill has dropped by a noticeable 326 head when compared to the previous week, while the cow kill has dropped by 245 head.

Last week’s throughput is a total of 2,075 head of cattle behind the number processed in the same week as last year.

This – coupled with a higher demand for beef than this time last year – gives a good indication of the current upward pressure coming on beef price, and farmers should keep these throughput figures in mind when sending cattle to the factory.

Factory quotes

Factory beef quotes have slowly begun to move upwards this week, with at least one processor moving quotes forward by 5c/kg across all categories.

Heifer price remains 5c/kg in front of steer quotes across most, if not all processors, with some farmers managing to secure heifer price for steers, where the majority of the cattle in the deal are suitable, in-spec heifers, with bullocks matching the same criteria.

Starting with heifers, a base price of €4.25/kg is the higher end of quotes this week, with other processors reluctant to advance quotes, citing €4.20/kg as heifer-base this week.

Regarding steers, €4.20/kg seems to be the higher end of steer quotes this week – up 5c/kg on last week, with other processors lagging 5c/kg behind with quotes remaining unchanged from last week, at €4.15/kg.

Looking at cow price, €3.60/kg and €3.70/kg for P and O-grade cows respectively, is on offer to farmers this week.

For better type R and U-grade cows, factories are paying €3.90/kg and €4.00/kg respectively to farmers – with others up to 10c/kg behind on these quotes.

While some processors are offering the above quotes as flat prices, one processor in the north of the country is offering an additional 10c/kg bonus for fleshed cows with carcass weights of between 300-400kg.

For under-24-month bulls, a flat price of €4.05/kg, €4.15/kg and €4.25/kg for O, R and U-grade bulls respectively, is being quoted to farmers with weight bonuses on offer in some facilities also.

For under-16-month bulls, some processors are offering €4.15/kg on the grid, while others are buying under-16-month bulls at the same price as under-24-month bulls.