Beef trade: Increased supply of cattle results in price halt

As the grazing period draws to a close for cattle on many beef farms, it has resulted in large numbers of animals coming out for slaughter this week, as we hit a peak killing period.

The beef kill last week reached 37,663 head, which represented an increase of 1,229 head compared to the previous week’s figures.

Factories are remaining stagnant on their base quotes for steers at €3.60/kg.

The heifer trade is subject to the same issue, with quotes of €3.60-3.65/kg being touted by most processors, with little sign of an increase in the weeks ahead as supplies surge.

Young bulls on the grid are still being quoted at €3.50-3.60/kg. Under 24-month-old, in-spec, R-grading bulls are being quoted at €3.50/kg, while U-grading bulls are trading at €3.60/kg.

IFA Livestock Committee chairperson

Commenting on the current factory trade, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) National Livestock Committee chairman, Brendan Golden, explained:

“What we are hearing from the UK is that there is a buoyant trade at retail level. We believe we should be getting more for our animals.

“As the winter period is closing in, many farmers have either slaughtered or housed their finishing animals.

“Agents are saying that grass-fed cattle are now coming to an end for the year and that there are not many cattle left on the land. They believe they have a lot of them gone.

We have heard of cases where farmers are being paid €3.70/kg for prime cattle, with breeding such as Angus and Hereford, but this may depend on the farmer’s relationship with the factory.

Brendan added: “The cow trade is holding very well at the moment, with prices of up to €3.45/kg being achieved in recent times for quality animals. This usually indicates that manufacturing beef products, such as mince, are going well.”

Cow trade

Meanwhile, quotes for cows are seeing similar trends to last week, with most processors quoting prices ranging from €2.80-2.90/kg for P-grades, €3.00/kg for O-grades and €3.20/kg for R-grading cows. U-grading cows are trading around €3.30/kg.

The number of cows processed last week increased significantly – by 770 head – and amounted to 8,155 head.