In the beef trade this week, we are seeing prices offered for cull cows still holding the same footing as last week.

The quotes offered are more or less the same in a lot of circumstances, despite rumours floating around late last week that prices were going to be pulled.

However, these rumours have carried through to this week again – with suggestions made that cow prices are going to take a hit next week.

P-grading cows are still fetching €3.40/kg, while O-grades are hovering between €3.50-3.65/kg. The R-grading cows are standing their ground with prices starting at €3.70/kg and reaching €3.80-3.85/kg depending on quality and flesh.

Speaking with an agent from the south of the country this week about the threat cow prices dropping, they said: “It could be a ploy to flush out more cows and make farmers move cows that they were trying to hold onto in the hope of a further rise in quotes.”

Bullock, heifer and bull beef trade

The hunger is still there for prime cattle, with bullocks being priced at €4.10-4.15/kg this week, while heifers are securing quotes of €4.15-4.20/kg.

There seems to be more and more talk amongst farmers of flat-rate deals agreed for Angus and Hereford cattle. For farmers considering these deals, keep your breed bonus and in-spec quality assurance bonus in mind before striking a deal.

Turning to the bulls, some factories are happy to see these class of animals passing through their killing line over recent weeks, with fewer reports of procurement managers turning their noses up at calls from heavy bull-beef finishers.

The under-24-month-old males are valued at €4.15/kg for U-grades, €4.00-4.10/kg for R-grades, with O-grading bull prices ranging from €3.85/kg up to €4.00/kg.

Under-16-month-old bull quotes received this week are at €4.05-4.10/kg.

beef naughten HSA ireland

Beef kill

The beef kill for the week ending May 9, reached 28,298 head (excluding a veal kill of 21 head).

It seems that the bank holiday Monday had very little effect on killings as the number processed week-on-week dropped only slightly by 106 head (excluding veal).

Looking at the cumulative kill, up to the week ending May 9, a total of 544,913 head of cattle (excluding veal) has been slaughtered in 2021.

The continuing deficit in year-on-year supplies is now reaching 42,453 head (excluding veal).

Looking at the figures from last week in more detail, the number of cows processed hit 6,984 head – with 877 head more cows slaughtered in comparison to the previous week.

The number of steers killed suffered a drop; there was 817 head less slaughtered week-on-week as the total kills amounted to 10,099 head last week.

The throughput for heifers also suffered a drop in week-on-week figures, as 548 head less were presented for slaughter.

  • Steers: 10,096 head (-817 head or -7.4%);
  • Heifers: 8,052 head (-461 head or -6.3%);
  • Cows: 6,984 head (+877 head or +14%);
  • Young bulls: 2,421 head (+146 head or +6.4%);
  • Bulls: 742 head (+235 head or +46%);
  • Total: 28,298 head (-106 head or -0.3%).