With beef prices almost reaching the €4.00/kg mark for finishers here in Ireland, it is time to review how British beef prices are performing.

British finishers are certainly reaping rewards with deals reportedly being secured between €5.00-5.20/kg for in-spec prime beef cattle – leaving Irish farmers looking at a price difference of approximately €300/head or more.

Earlier this week, Irish farmers were seeing quotes for steers starting at €3.85/kg, while heifers were priced at €3.90-3.95/kg.

Some finishers are now said to be receiving an additional 5c/kg extra as the week progresses, due to factories succumbing to demands.

British beef price

In Great Britain (GB), the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has reported that finished cattle prices rose for a sixth consecutive week to reach £3.96/kg for the week ending April 3 – which was up 4.3p/kg on the previous week.

The average price is now 60p higher than the same week last year.

The overall steer price offered in GB last week was £3.97/kg, with the R4L steer being priced at almost £4.07/kg.

Turning to the heifers, prices were standing close to £4.59/kg. R4L heifers were valued at £4.06/kg.

In the cow trade, the overall price offered averaged £2.70/kg, which was a 2.9% rise on the previous week.

committee profiteering farmers TB prime cattle Manure

Supplies are tight

Sharing a similar story to the Irish market, supplies of finished cattle are tight in Great Britain at the moment, as the ADHB stated that the estimated throughput fell 9.1% (3,000 head) on the week before to total 30,600 head.

Slaughter levels will have been affected by the start of the Easter weekend, but the drop was still larger than seen during previous Easter periods.

Speaking this week about the current beef trade, Brendan Golden, the National Livestock chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) stated:

“The food service sector in the UK is a key outlet for Irish beef and the phased reopening from next Monday is a significant development for beef sales.

“The food service sector in the UK is scheduled for full reopening in May. This will increase demand for beef in the coming weeks and must return meaningful beef price increases,” he added.