The rise in factory prices has continued in the beef trade this week, with the prices quoted for cull cows being one of the main talking points.

This week, factories are now pricing R-grade cows at quotes reaching €3.70-3.80/kg, depending on quality and flesh.

Looking at the O-grades, these are being priced at quotes of €3.50-3.60/kg, while some Friesian cows achieving this grade are being quoted at €3.30-3.40/kg. A P-grading cow is now valued up to €3.40/kg by procurement managers – with some quotes easing back to €3.25/kg.

This is a week-on-week rise of 10-15c/kg at some plants in the value of quotes for cows.

Heifers and steers beef trade

Turning to the prime cattle trade, the general run of prices is witnessing heifers being quoted at €4.10-4.15/kg. Some specialised deals have also been reported to have achieved up to €4.20/kg.

Meanwhile, some processors are trying to offer €4.00/kg for bullocks, but the general run of prices is €4.05-4.10/kg.

The impression again this week from factories is that supplies are still hard to source – with some plants trying to increase processing this week due to the bank-holiday on Monday, cutting next week’s killing slightly shorter.

In the bull trade, under 24-month-old males with a U-grade are valued at €4.05-4.10/kg. R-grades are fetching €3.95-4.00/kg, while the O-grades are ranging from prices starting at €3.80/kg up to €3.90-3.95/kg.

The under 16-month-old bull on the grid is being priced at €4.00-4.10/kg.

‘Weigh up your options’

This week, Agriland spoke with Brendan Golden – who is the Irish Farmers’ Association National (IFA) Livestock Committee chairman – to get his views on how farmers should handle sending cattle supplies to plants over the coming days.

“The cull cow prices have been very strong at marts at the minute and this is being aided by the competition from the northern clients – so the message would be for farmers to weigh up your options if you have heavy or store cows that are coming fit to sell.

“Farmers should remember that supplies are tight and so they should keep driving on negotiations with factories when it comes to steers and heifer prices.

“Market conditions are in farmers’ favour due to the UK reopening and [the UK] food service industries getting back to levels of normality.

“Combining this with retail demand, this should be aiding the prices in the coming weeks,” Brendan concluded.