Beef trade: Steady as she goes as supplies reach one million

As with last week, the beef trade has continued to remain steady. After weeks of price uncertainty, procurement managers have steadied the ship somewhat and are offering bases of 385c/kg for steers and 395c/kg for heifers.

It’s worth noting that deals are being completed at higher prices and 5-10c/kg over base quotes have been achieved freely. This is especially the case for in-spec, quality-assured stock.

However, animals falling outside the 30-month category are meeting a more difficult trade, as are those with numerous movements prior to slaughter.

Meanwhile, the cow trade continues to remain a little tricky. Base quotes of 310c/kg are generally being offered for P-grade cows, O-grade cows are slightly stronger at 320c/kg and buyers are starting negotiations for R-grade cows at 340-350c/kg.


Official figures show that there was a slight decrease in beef cattle supplies during the week ending July 29 – falling by 667 head or 1.8% on the week before.

Throughput decreases were witnessed in all of the major categories, with the exception of aged bulls.

Week-on-week beef kill changes (week ending July 29):
  • Young bulls: 3,438 head (-123 head or -3.5%);
  • Aged bulls: 681 head (+73 head or +12%);
  • Steers: 14,331 head (-289 head or -2%);
  • Cows: 8,309 head (-41 head or -0.5%);
  • Heifers: 8,847 head (-321 head or -3.5%);
  • Total: 35,664 head (-667 head or -1.8%).

Meanwhile, beef cattle supplies broke the one million head mark during the week ending July 29 to put cattle supplies for the year up 35,794 head or 3.7% when compared to the corresponding period in 2017.

Throughput increases were witnessed in all of the major categories, with young bull, cow and heifer supplies witnessing the main supply increases.

Year-on-year beef kill changes:
  • Young bulls: 129,368 head (+9,445 head or +7.9%);
  • Aged bulls: 18,157 head (+2,029 head or +12.8%);
  • Steers: 345,920 head (+15 head or 0%);
  • Cows: 221,486 head (+8,079 head or +3.8%);
  • Heifers: 276,408 head (+13,666 head or +5.2%);
  • Total: 1,000,441 head (+35,794 head or +3.7%).