Beef trade: Negotiations start at 400c/kg for factory-fit heifers

This week, the majority of beef processors are starting negotiations with beef farmers at 390c/kg for bullocks and 400c/kg for heifers.

Farmers – especially those with large numbers of in-spec stock to sell – are finding that 5c/kg on top of the base quotes is achievable; this brings heifers to 405c/kg and bullock quotes to 395c/kg.

There is quite a variation in the prices being quoted to farmers for cows and this depends on the quality and grades being presented. The location and demand of individual processing plants also has to be factored into the equation.

Buyers are offering 290-310c/kg to purchase P-grade animals. In addition, procurement managers are starting negotiations with farmers for O-grade and R-grade cows at 315c/kg and 340c/kg respectively. Factories are quoting prices of 350c/kg upwards for U-grade cows.

Weekly kill

Some 30,429 cattle were processed in Department of Agriculture approved beef export plants during the week ending August 12. When compared to the week previous, the total weekly kill fell by 3,797 head.

Throughput decreases were witnessed in the young bull (-425), aged bull (-25) steer (-1,969), cow (-794) and heifer (-581) categories. The fall in the number of cattle processed during the week ending August 12 can be attributed somewhat to the bank holiday Monday.

Week-on-week beef kill changes (week ending August 12):
  • Young bulls: 2,846 head (-425 head or -13%);
  • Bulls: 798 head (-25 head or -3%);
  • Steers: 12,294 head (-1,969 head or -14%);
  • Cows: 6,981 head (-794 head or -10%);
  • Heifers: 7,510 head (-581 head or -7.0%);
  • Total: 30,429 head (+3,797 head or -11%).

Year-on-year supplies

Over 1.64 million cattle have been slaughtered in Ireland so far this year, official data shows. Figures taken from the Department of Agriculture’s beef kill database indicate that some 1,064,876 cattle were processed up to the week ending August 12.

When we compare this to the corresponding period in 2017, that’s an increase of 36,497 head or 3.5%.

In terms of throughput, the combined steer and heifer kill accounted for over 62% of all of the cattle slaughtered in Ireland between January 1 and August, 2018.

Some 372,480 steers and 292,010 heifers were slaughtered in approved beef export plants this year – a combined jump of 10,027 head.

Some 236,242 cows have been processed this year – an increase of 10,021 head on the corresponding period in 2017.

Furthermore, there has been an increase in the number of aged bull and young bull slaughterings. Aged bull throughput has jumped by 2,496 head and young bull supplies are up by 11,378 head.

Year-on-year beef kill changes (week ending August 12):
  • Young bulls: 135,485 head (+11,378 head or +9.0%);
  • Bulls: 19,778 head (+2,496 head or +14.4%);
  • Steers: 372,482 head (-3,808 head or -1.0%);
  • Cows: 236,242 head (+10,021 head or +4.2%);
  • Heifers: 292,010 head (+13,835 head or +4.7%);
  • Total: 1,064,876 head (+36,497 head or +3.4%).