Beef trade: Another blow for finishers with factory-fit cattle

This week, prices for steers have dropped and are being quoted at 350-355c/kg, while base quotes for heifers have also fallen to 360-365c/kg. The attempt to reduce base quotes to the lower level has been met with firm opposition from finishers.

During the week ending June 14, 127 more steers were slaughtered when compared to the previous week, while 311 fewer heifers were bought by beef processors.

On the cow price front, beef buyers are starting negotiations with farmers for P-grade cows at the 280c/kg mark, with O-grades at 280-290c/kg. Moreover, R-grading cows are securing up to 290-305c/kg depending on quality.

Prices are very much dependent on location and demand of the individual processing plant.

The cow kill decreased by just 36 head when compared to the week before.

Farmers with bulls fit for slaughter are still being met with downward price pressure – albeit the number of bulls presented for slaughter declined.

During the week ending June 14, the number of young bulls presented for slaughter stood at 4,400 head – a fall of 364 head, while the number of aged bulls stood at 662 head; this was a decrease of 44 head.

Again, quotes are dependent on location and demand of the individual processing plant, but under-16 month bulls are quoted at 345-350c/kg. Factories with less of an appetite for bulls are quoting prices further back.

U-grading bulls are making in the region of 345-350c/kg, while R-grades are being quoted lower at 345-350c/kg; O-grading bulls are hovering around the 330c/kg mark.

Week-on-week beef kill changes (week ending July 14):
  • Young bulls: 4,400 head (-364 head or -7.6%);
  • Bulls: 662 head (-44 head or -6.2%);
  • Steers: 11,768 head (+127 head or -1%);
  • Cows: 8,231 head (-36 head or -0.4%);
  • Heifers: 9,538 head (-311 head or -3.1%);
  • Total: 34,647 head (-627 head or -1.7%).

Other EU markets

Looking at prices elsewhere in Europe, according to Bord Bia, R3 steers were quoted in Great Britain for the week ending July 14 at 370c/kg, while R3 heifers made 372c/kg.

Moving to France, R3 bullocks made 370c/kg and heifers made 393c/kg. In France, R-grade young bulls made 371c/kg.

In Italy, Bord Bia says, R-grading young bull prices were 387c/kg, while the German young bull price was 343c/kg.