Beef trade: Prices unchanged as supplies break 1 million

While the majority of cattle are still trading at 370-375c/kg for bullocks and 375-380c/kg for factory-fit heifers, agents are keen not to let any cattle go.

In recent weeks, farmers with marketable stock have been urged to bargain hard as beef processors are anxious to secure cattle supplies, with regular sellers – and those with numbers – in the best position of securing higher prices.

Looking at the cow trade, processors are offering 290-300c/kg for P-grade cows, while lesser-quality cows are further back.

Negotiations are starting at 300-310c/kg for O-grade cows, while finishers supplying better-quality, R-grade cows are being offered 320-330c/kg this week.

In terms of young bull prices, O, R and U-grading bulls are making 340-350c/kg, 360c/kg and 370c/kg respectively.

mechanical grading meat processor offaly

Cattle throughput will be somewhat lower this week due to Monday’s bank holiday. However, official figures show that some 35,267 cattle were processed in Department of Agriculture approved beef export plants last week.

The addition of last week’s throughput brings the cumulative kill for the year to over 1.04 million head – an extra 25,253 head when compared to the same period in 2019.

Looking at the figures in more detail, the steer and heifer kill stood at 16,500 head and 9,346 head respectively.

Cow slaughterings accounted for the third largest segment of the kill at 7,019 head, while young bull and aged bull throughput stood at 1,577 head and 803 head respectively.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:
  • Young bulls: 1,577 head (-53 head);
  • Bulls: 803 head (-55 head);
  • Steers: 16,500 head (+965 head);
  • Cows: 7,019 head (-1,016 head);
  • Heifers: 9,346 head (+532 head);
  • Total: 35,267 head (+359 head).

As mentioned, over 1.04 million cattle have been slaughtered in Ireland this year.

Year-on-year beef kill changes:
  • Young bulls: 98,965 head (-51,637 head);
  • Bulls: 20,526 head (-3,581 head);
  • Steers: 378,520 head (+29,611 head);
  • Cows: 211,860 head (-10,445 head);
  • Heifers: 310,175 head (-3,633 head);
  • Total: 1,047,474 head (-25,253 head).