Beef trade: Nothing new to report on price front

It’s a case of ‘as you were’ on the beef price front, with base prices for steers at 375c/kg and heifers at 385c/kg. Some producers have reported an extra 5c/kg for heifers, but the number of farmers achieving these prices are in the minority.

Beef buyers are starting negotiations with farmers for cows at 260c/kg for P-grade cows; poorer-quality cows are achieving lower prices.

In addition, 280-290c/kg is on the table for O-grade animals and 300c/kg is being quoted for R-grade cows. However, the location and demand of individual processing plants plays a role in the price being quoted to farmers for cows.

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

Cattle supplies

Turning to the weekly kill, the total number of 35,267 cattle – excluding calves – were processed during the week ending March 10.

The number of young bulls processed amounted to 5,015 head – a fall of 434 head and the number of cows processed by Irish beef plants stood at 6,839 – a fall of 273 head.

Some 12,100 factory-fit bullocks were slaughtered – a rise of 736 head. Moving to heifers, 10,743 of these animals were processed during the week ending March 10 – up from 10,670 head during the week before. Furthermore, some 23 fewer aged bulls were slaughtered.

Week-on-week beef kill changes (week ending March 3):
  • Young bulls: 5,015 head (-434 head or -7.9%);
  • Bulls: 649 head (-23 head or -3.4%);
  • Steers: 12,100 head (+736 head or +6.4%);
  • Cows: 6,839 head (-273 head or -3.8%);
  • Heifers: 10,743 head (+73 head or +0.6%);
  • Total: 35,267 head (+79 head or +0.2%).