Beef trade: Demand for prime heifers beginning to creep up

As mart managers highlighted last week, the increasing demand for forward Angus-bred cattle in marts is being matched with the continuing desire amongst processors for prime Angus cattle in the lead up to the Christmas period.

Processors are refusing to move off their quote of €3.60/kg for steers. Although farmers should keep in mind that a bonus of 15-20c/kg is being offered for Angus and Hereford-bred cattle, provided they are quality assured.

There is a sense of eagerness from some processors for prime heifers, which should aid price in the coming weeks. Heifers are still being quoted generally at the €3.65/kg mark, although deals have been agreed of up to €3.70/kg for Angus and Hereford heifers.

Commenting on the heifer trade this week, the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA) National Livestock Committee chairman, Brendan Golden, stated:

Flat rate deals have been achieved this week of up to €3.95/kg, including all bonuses, which may be an option for farmers with in-spec Angus or Hereford heifers that may grade less than an R-grade.

“It is important that farmers begin to negotiate and get as much from the market as they can.”

Cows are quoted at similar prices to last week, with U-grades being offered between €3.15/kg to €3.20/kg. R-grading cows are quoted at €3.00/kg, while O-grade prices are hovering around the €2.80/kg mark. P-grades are priced back from €2.60/kg to €2.70/kg.

The price on the table for bulls under-16 months-of-age continues to be from €3.50/kg to €3.60/kg on the grid.

Under 24-month-old bulls are receiving quotes from €3.40/kg for O-grades, €3.50/kg for R-grades and €3.60/kg for U-grades. This is provided they are quality assured and in-spec – in terms of weight limits.

Beef Kill

The total number of processed cattle recorded last week amounted to 39,213 head. This was an increase of 664 head from the previous week.

Looking at the numbers in more detail, the number of young bulls processed came to 2,430 head – an increase of 369 head in comparison to the previous week.

The throughput of processed heifers also experienced an increase last week of 859 head, as the number of heifers killed reached 12,224 head.

Furthermore, the number of steers processed saw a slight decline of 113 head and amounted to 15,446 head. Comparing this figure to the same period last year, the throughput of steers processed is slightly behind at 398 head.

The number of cows processed equated to 8,471 head. So far this year, the cumulative kill of cows is ahead by 13,812 head, in comparison to the same period in 2019.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:

  • Steers: 15,446 head (-113 head);
  • Heifers: 12,224 head (+859 head);
  • Cows: 8,471 head (-456 head);
  • Young bulls: 2,430 head (+369 head);
  • Bulls: 642 head (+5 head);
  • Total: 39,213 head (+664 head).