Towards the end of last week, farmers were noticing slightly more of an edge from some agents and plants to source cattle for this week.

In the beef trade this week, increasing demand is now witnessing prices for bullocks and heifers holding firmer at €3.75/kg, while cases of €3.80/kg are also being achieved.

Some factories are still offering a price of €3.70/kg for bullocks but negotiations by farmers are seeing these quotes rise.

‘Hold firm’

The message this week from the farming organisations is to “hold firm” when it comes to selling cattle to factories.

Commenting on the current situation this week, Edmund Graham of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) stated:

Prime UK price is up 60c/kg and prime EU price is up 20c/kg compared to a very poor performance by Irish factories which is barely 10c/kg better than last March.

The beef chairman stressed that, in the ICSA’s view, there is no reason why beef prices “won’t increase significantly in the coming weeks if farmers resist right now”.

“Do not sell cattle at €3.70/kg unless absolutely necessary as you will almost certainly regret it.”

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

The main message is to not accept lower quotes from plants – because prices are climbing.

“Factories need to start following the EU and UK price tracker.”

Bull and cow trade

For bulls this week, the quotes have more or less remained the same. Under 24-month-old bulls are offered €3.75-3.80/kg for U-grades – with some reports of €3.85/kg being secured.

The R-grades are valued at €3.65-3.70/kg, while O-grades are continuing to start at quotes of €3.50/kg.

Under 16-month-old bulls are valued at €3.70-3.75/kg this week.

In the cow trade, R-grades are selling up to €3.30/kg – while O-grades are priced at €3.10-3.15/kg. P-grades are still witnessing quotes of €2.90/kg – however more plants are leaning towards quotes of €3.00/kg.

cattle, UFU market conditions

Beef Kill

The kill for last week reached 30,365 head (excluding veal of 3,301 head). This has seen levels remain more or less similar to the previous week.

The figures of processed cattle continue to fall behind by 6,439 head (again excluding veal) in comparison to the same week last year.

Also in comparison to 2020, the overall the cumulative kill for 2021 is behind by 31,561 head (excluding veal).

The number of steers processed (for the week-ending February 28) amounted to 10,996 head – which was a week-on-week increase of 156 head. Comparing this to the equivalent week last year, the slaughter of steers is behind by 2,419 head.

The heifer kill reached 9,362 head last week which was a rise of 126 head from the previous week.

Meanwhile, the figure of young bulls killed reached 2,869 head – experiencing a deficit of 755 head in the weekly kills.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:

  • Steers: 10,966 head (+156 head);
  • Heifers: 9,362 head (+126 head);
  • Cows: 6,701 head (+367 head);
  • Young bulls: 2,869 head (-755 head);
  • Bulls: 467 head (+41 head);
  • Total: 30,365 head (-65 head).