Beef trade: Base quotes start to move upwards

After last week’s announcement that ABP would increase beef prices by 5c/kg, it seems that all other major processors have followed suit.

Any increase will be welcomed by farmers, but on the ground a lot of beef men were hoping for a larger increase – especially when we examine markets in the UK, Europe and indeed worldwide.

Another large kill this week, just short of 40,000, demonstrates the demand for beef by the factories, as they prioritise under 30-month steers and heifers which are suitable for the Chinese market.

For the most part, beef processors are operating off 350-355c/kg for steers and 355-360c/kg for heifers.

Will this be the turn in prices that beef and suckler farmers so urgently need?

Looking at the cow trade, it is best described as steady; P-grade cows are making anywhere from 255-270c/kg depending on quality.

Moving to O-grades, these animals are achieving anywhere from 275c/kg to 285c/kg, while R-grading cows are coming in at 300-305c/kg on average.

Factories’ appetites for bulls continue to vary – with prices of 345c/kg for R grades. O-grade bulls are hovering around the 315-320c/kg mark. 350c/kg is being quoted for U-grade types.

Looking at last week’s kill, steers and heifers stood at 14,863 head and 11,419 head respectively.

Cow slaughterings accounted for 8,381 head, while young bull and aged bull throughput stood at 4,617 head and 592 head respectively.

Week-on-week beef kill changes (week ending December 8):
  • Young bulls: 4,617 head (+341 head or +7.9%);
  • Bulls: 592 head (+26 head or +4.5%);
  • Steers: 14,863 head (-799 head or -5.1%);
  • Cows: 8,381 head (+291 head or +3.5%);
  • Heifers: 11,419 head (-115 head or -%);
  • Total: 39,965 head (-249 head or -0.9%).

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