Beef trade: Factories remain coy on levels of demand

It’s a case of business as usual for prices quoted for bullocks and heifers this week, with some factories remaining coy on their levels of demand.

The general prices being quoted this week are seeing steers and heifers starting off at €3.70/kg. Reports of finishers digging in their heels are seeing quotes moving up to €3.75/kg for heifers and some steers, provided they are in-spec.

Speaking to AgriLand, Brendan Golden, the chairperson of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) National Livestock Committee, stated:

Winter finishers need every penny they can get at the moment when they are killing their cattle – with the price of inputs going up their backs are to the wall.

“We know there are pressures going on in the market and in the UK, but this should be easing off.

“Bord Bia were claiming that between the heavy supplies that were shipped over to the UK, mixed with a rise in the kills in the UK – it had reduce the demand somewhat.

“These supplies should be gone through the system now and with UK releasing their lockdown reopening plan, that we are hopefully going to see a further rise in the demand from this market over the coming months.”

The cow trade is seeing similar prices to last week, with R-grades being quoted at €3.30/kg back to €3.20/kg in plants. Some plants were on edge to get their hands on these grades of cows this week according to reports, as slightly higher quotes were achieved.

The P-grading cows are being valued again at €2.90/kg up to €3.00/kg, while the O-grades are priced at €3.05-3.10/kg by procurement managers.

Meanwhile in the bull trade, under 24-month-old bulls are experiencing O-grades being priced from €3.50/kg and upwards depending on their flesh. The R-grades are receiving quotes of €3.65-3.70/kg, U-grades are being quoted at €3.75/kg.

The under 16-month-old bulls continue to be quoted around a price of €3.70/kg.

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Beef kill

The total kill for last week (week ending February 21) amounted to 30,430 head (excluding veal kill of 2,806 head).

This kill witnessed a weekly rise of 650 head (again excluding veal), yet the total number of animals processed continues to fall behind by 6,193 head during the same period last year. 

Looking at the figures in more detail, the throughput of steers reached 10,810 head last week – which was ahead by 104 head on the previous week.

Furthermore, the number of heifers slaughtered tallied at 9,236 head. This was back slightly by 114 head in  the week-on-week kills.

Cow throughput was totalled at 6,334 head last week. When compared to the same period last year, we are seeing deficit numbers of 668 head – as the throughput had reached 7,002 head.

The number of bulls killed amounted to 3,624 for the week ending February 21. Again the trend continues as they are falling behind by 946 head when compared to the same period last year.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:

  • Steers: 10,810 head (+104 head);
  • Heifers: 9,236 head (-114 head);
  • Cows: 6,334 head (+262 head);
  • Young bulls: 3,624 head (+343 head);
  • Bulls: 426 head (+73 head);
  • Total: 30,430 head (+650 head).