In the beef trade this week, we are seeing prices move more sharply to a base for heifers of €4.00/kg, with €4.05/kg also available in some plants this week.

The hope is that factories ‘keep the ball moving’ and finishers will see even more improvements as the weeks progress.

Looking at the bullock prices, these are starting at quotes of €3.90-3.95/kg, while specialised deals for in-spec Angus steers are seeing prices secured of €4.00/kg.

It can be a jealous sight to see UK businesses and hospitality reopening and returning to levels of normality ahead of the Republic of Ireland. Although, if it means that we are getting an improved demand and price for our beef, it helps alleviate the envy somewhat.

The cow trade is booming with prices for P-grades rising to €3.15-3.20/kg – there have been quotes received of€3.25/kg. O-grades are being quoted at €3.30-3.40/kg, while R-grades are valued upwards starting at €3.50/kg – depending on quality and flesh.

In the bull beef trade, males under 24-months-old are being valued at €3.95/kg for U-grades, €3.85-3.90/kg for R-grades – while €3.70-3.75/kg is on the table for O-grades.

Under 16-month-old bulls are priced at €3.85-3.90/kg on the grid.

Supplies remain tight in beef trade

The availability of ‘factory fit’ cattle is still scarce on the ground according to reports, as some plants are still scrambling to hoover up what is available on farms and in marts currently.

Speaking to one procurement manager, this concern to secure cattle looks like it will continue into next week. Therefore, the power for negotiation should still very much be in the hands of the farmer.

Beef Kill

The beef kill for the week ending April 11, reached 28,780 head (excluding a veal kill of 712 head).

The issues with supply is starting to filter through on the figures, as the number processed has dropped week-on-week, with a reduced kill of 1,493 head (excluding veal).

The kill continues to fall behind by 529 head (excluding veal) compared with the same period last year.

Overall, the cumulative throughput for 2021 shows there is a 56,945 head (excluding veal) deficit compared to the same numbers processed in 2020.

Looking at the figures from last week in more detail, the number of steers killed tallied to 11,600 head – with 96 less bullocks processed in comparison to the previous week.

The biggest drop in numbers processed was the section of heifers, where there was 1,031 head less slaughtered week-on-week, as the total kills amounted to 8,494 head last week.

  • Steers: 11,600 head (-96 head or -0.8%);
  • Heifers: 8,494 head (-1,031 head or -10.8%);
  • Cows: 5,906 head (-279 head or -4.5%);
  • Young bulls: 2,166 head (-79 head or -3.5%);
  • Bulls: 614 head (+12 head or +2%);
  • Total: 28,780 head (-1,493 head or -2.5%).