Beef price stagnation continues

The factory/farmer beef price stalemate has continued from last week, with steer and heifer prices remaining largely unchanged.

Steers are currently sitting at a base of 395-405c/kg, while heifers are trading from 410-415c/kg in most cases.

Some farmers, especially those with large numbers of in-spec stock, have been receiving prices 5-10c/kg above the base.

At the upper end of the scale, this brings some heifers to 420-425c/kg – but the numbers slaughtered at these prices are relatively low in the grand scheme of things.

Like the prime kill, cow prices have also remained relatively unchanged from last week and most buyers are offering 350-360c/kg for R-grade and 330c/kg for O-grade animals.

Last week’s prices

Last week, base heifers sold for an average price of 426c/kg, while farmers were paid an average price of 414c/kg for base steers. Both of these prices included bonuses such as breed-specific payments.

These prices were up by 4.19c/kg and 2.55c/kg respectively on the week before.

Meanwhile, farmers were paid an average price of 346c/kg (up 9.59c/kg) for 0=3= cows last week, and U=2+ young bull prices climbed by 5.69c/kg to reach an average of 406c/kg. Launch Agriland’s Beef Price Toolkit for an closer look at last week’s prices

beef prices April 27

Supplies remain tight

Some 28,990 cattle were slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved beef plants last week – a drop of 1,172 head or 3.9% on the week before.

However, last week’s bank holiday Monday did have an impact on the numbers brought forward for slaughter.

Some 2,823 young bulls were slaughtered in approved export plants last week. This is a drop of 326 head or 10.4% on the week before.

Aged bull and steer throughput also declined by 10.1% and 4% respectively, when compared to the week before. Heifer numbers were back by 4.8% or 415 head.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:
  • Young bulls: 2,823 head (-326 head or -10.4%)
  • Bulls: 563 head (-63 head or -10.1%)
  • Steers: 11,259 head (-467 head or -4%)
  • Heifers: 8,220 head (-415 head or -4.8%)
  • Total: 28,990 (-1,172 head or -3.9%)

Cumulative beef supplies up in 2017

Figures from the Department of Agriculture’s beef kill database also show that an additional 10,295 head (+2%) of cattle have been slaughtered in Irish plants so far this year (compared to 2016 levels).

An increase in cow slaughterings is largely to blame for this increase, as an additional 11,880 cows have been slaughtered this year compared to last.

There have also been slight increases in steer and heifer numbers, which are up by 1.9% (3,384 head) and 1.1% (1,635 head) respectively.

Year-on-year beef kill changes:
  • Young bulls: 67,906 head (-8,152 head or -10.7%)
  • Bulls: 7,514 head (-1,200 head or -13.8%)
  • Steers: 182,330 head (+3,384 head or 1.9%)
  • Cows: 105,036 head (+11,880 head or +12.8%)
  • Heifers: 147,696 head (+1,635 head or +1.1%)
  • Total: 515,992 head (+10,295 head or +2%)