Beef trade: Factories remain hungry, as supplies continue to tighten

This week processors are continuing to seek prime cattle to complete orders in the lead up to Christmas. Agents are still actively sourcing, as the numbers of finished cattle are tightening even further – with factories remaining hungry to fill supplies.

Again, this week, the simple message for farmers is to negotiate hard when it comes to price.

Steers have received another rise as processors are freely quoting €3.70/kg. Meanwhile, heifers are generally priced at €3.75/kg, although, quotes of €3.80/kg have been reported by some agents. 

In-spec under-16-month-old bulls are being quoted from €3.60-3.70/kg on the grid.

Quotes for bulls aged under 24-months-old are being valued at €3.70/kg upwards to €3.80/kg for U-grades and €3.60-3.70/kg for R-grades; with O-grades receiving from €3.40-3.60/kg depending on quality.

The lesser grading cows have risen again this week, with quotes of up to €2.90/kg being given for P-grades. Cows achieving O-grades are priced at €3.00/kg.

Meanwhile, R-grades are up 10c/kg, as some processors are quoting €3.20/kg. The higher quality U-grades are continuing to be priced from €3.20-3.30/kg this week.

Last year’s quotes

Comparing quotes this week to the same period last year, steers are being priced ahead by 25c/kg, while heifers are priced on average 20c/kg ahead.

Furthermore, in the cow trade, a rise of 20c/kg has been witnessed in price across all grades when reflecting back to the same week in 2019.

According to the Teagasc 2021 Outlook report, prices for steers are ahead by 1% for 2020 in comparison to 2019. However, comparing this to quotes offered in 2018, prices are still 5% lower on average.

Also Read: 41% drop in gross margin on cattle-finishing farms in ‘no-deal’ Brexit

Northern Trade

According to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), for the week ending November 29, the cow trade in Northern Ireland has remained similar to last week.

Cows achieving an O+3-grade or better were still priced at £2.40/kg (€2.66/kg) up to £2.60/kg (€2.88/kg) – depending on weight and grade.

Prime cattle also received no change in price as U-3-grades were quoted from £3.56-3.66/kg (€3.95-4.06/kg), while R-3-grades were selling at £3.50/kg (€3.88/kg) rising up to £3.60/kg (€3.99/kg) with some processors. These quotes include bonuses where applicable.

O-3-grading prime cattle were selling from £3.44-3.54/kg (€3.81-3.92/kg) last week. It’s predicted that, for this week, prime cattle will receive a lift in price of 2p/kg across all grades.