The downward pressure on beef prices has continued this week as most factories have dropped steer quotes to 370c/kg.

Like steers, heifer quotes have also fallen with the majority of buyers now operating off a base price of 380c/kg.

Procurement managers in the west were actively working off a base price of 370c/kg for steers and 380c/kg for heifers last week.

While, factories located east of the Shannon have followed suite this week, due to an increase in cattle supplies, with most now working off the lower base prices.

This week’s price drop means that quotes for steers and heifers have declined by 10c/kg in the space of four weeks.

Back in the corresponding week in August, procurement managers were offering 380c/kg and 390c/kg for steers and heifers.

However, despite the fall in steer and heifer prices, cow quotes are largely unchanged from last week with procurement managers offer 310c/kg for R grade cows, 290c/kg for O grade lots and 280c/kg for the plainer P grading animals.

Cattle supplies continue to climb

Beef cattle supplies have increased by almost 5% in the space of seven days, recent figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

During the week ending September 11, almost 34,000 cattle were slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved plants, which is an increase of 1,557 head compared to the week before.

Steer, cow and heifer slaughterings made up the majority of this increase, with throughout of these lots up 924 head, 654 head and 178 head respectively.

However, official figures show that the weekly young and aged bull kill both declined, with young bull slaughterings falling by 8.3%, while the aged bull kill declined by 2.4%.

The rise in cattle supplies can be attributed to the wet weather in the west which has seen many farmers offload cattle to factories due to deteriorating weather conditions.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:
  • Young bull: -173 head (-8.3%)
  • Bull: -15 head (-2.4%)
  • Steer: +924 head (+6.1%)
  • Cow: +657 head (+9.3%)
  • Heifer: +178 head (+2.4%)
  • Total: +1,557 head (+4.8%)

Main markets

British cattle continue to meet a robust trade due to tight supplies and relatively good demand, according to Bord Bia.

Prices from the AHDB show that British R4L steers made 362.6p/kg or the equivalent of around 430c/kg during the week ending august 27.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland the average R3 steer price was making the equivalent of 394c/kg, while R3 heifers made 393c/kg or 418c/kg.

Looking at France, the French beef market continues to be underpinned by difficulties in getting imported product onto retail shelves, Bord Bia says.

However, it says that demand for beef remains slow but it is hoped that it will pick up in the coming weeks as retail promotions focus on domestically produced mince and rump steaks.

Along with little movement in the French market, Bord Bia also says that there have been little change in Italian beef market as consumption continues to remain low.