Beef trade: More bite entering the trade – albeit small

This week, factory agents are offering 370-375c/kg for factory-fit bullocks, while base quotes of 380-385c/kg are on the table for heifers. The lower quotes are originating from the southern end of the country.

Regular customers or farmers with large numbers of in-spec cattle are in the best position to secure the higher prices.

Similar to the prime kill, cows remain steady. As it stands, processors are offering 270c/kg for P-grade cows, while lesser-quality cows are further back.

Negotiations are starting at 280-290c/kg for O-grade cows, while finishers supplying better-quality, R-grade cows are being offered 300-310c/kg this week.

Factory agents are quoting 330-340c/kg for O-grade bulls, while R-grades are moving for 340-350c/kg; procurement managers are quoting 360-370c/kg for U-grades.

Cattle throughput

Official figures show that some 35,651 cattle were processed in Department of Agriculture approved beef export plants during the week ending April 14.

The addition of last week’s throughput brings the cumulative kill for the year – up to and including the week ending April 14 – to over 540,000 head.

Looking at the figures in more detail, last week’s steer and heifer kill stood at 12,419 head and 10,723 head respectively; when combined, this represents 65% of the total weekly kill last week.

Cow slaughterings accounted for the third largest segment of the kill at 6,239 head, while young bull and aged bull throughput stood at 4,585 head and 1,279 head respectively.

Week-on-week beef kill changes (week ending April 14):
  • Young bulls: 4,585 head (-238 head or -4.9%);
  • Bulls: 1,279 head (+127 head or +11%);
  • Steers: 12,419 head (+539 head or +4.5%);
  • Cows: 6,239 head (-419 head or -6.2%);
  • Heifers: 10,723 head (-258 head or -2.3%);
  • Total: 35,651 head (-468 head or -1.2%).

Yearly kill

As mentioned above, over 540,000 cattle have been slaughtered in Ireland this year – a climb of just under 40,000 when compared to the corresponding period in 2017.

Throughput increases have been witnessed in the young bull, aged bull, steer, cow and heifer categories.

Year-on-year beef kill changes:
  • Young bulls: 82,862 head (+13,307 head or +19.2%);
  • Bulls: 9,435 head (+1,083 head or +13%);
  • Steers: 170,876 head (+2,030 head or +1.2%);
  • Cows: 104,390 head (+955 head or +1.0%);
  • Heifers: 162,796 head (+17,569 head or +12%);
  • Total: 541,913 head (+39,248 head or +7.8%).