Demand remains mixed for beef in key export markets
In its latest update Bord Bia report the cattle trade over the last week saw ongoing strong supplies, with demand for beef mixed in our key exports markets.
In terms of cattle prices Bord Bia outline, a base of around €3.90 to €3.95/kg continues to be paid for the majority of steers purchased this week on the Quality Payment System. Heifers are trading at a base price of between €3.95 to €4.00/kg. These prices exclude the €0.12/kg bonus which is payable on in-spec QA animals. Prices paid for O grade cull cows are making between €2.80 to €3.00/kg.
In Britain Bord Bia report the trade has remained steady over the past week. Demand has remained reasonable but it is expected to pick up as the bank holiday and Easter break approaches.
It says reported cattle prices from the AHDB remain steady with GB R4L grade steers averaging at Stg 373.3 pence/kg dw (equivalent to 447.3 cent/kg dw) for the week ended 15th March.
On the French market Bord Bia said the beef trade was reported as mixed for the week. Although there was some uplift in demand for BBQ cuts such as entrecotes and bavettes, this was partly offset by the seasonal slowdown in products like chucks, tongues and skirts. There continues to be an abundance of imported beef on offer from the Netherlands and Germany, at competitive prices.
In Italy, there was little change to report as weak demand market conditions of previous weeks continues due to a lower consumption of meat. In France, the R3 young bull price was down 2c to €3.86/kg, while the 03 cow price was unchanged at €3.42/kg.In Italy, the R3 young bull price was back 12c to €3.91/kg and the 03 cow price was back 3c to €2.73/kg.
Back at home National average factory prices for steers, cows, and heifers for the week 17-23 March 2014, as reported by the Department of Agriculture are as follows:
Sample National average prices paid for U=3= cattle was 406c/kg last week which represents a €0.06 rise when compared to the previous week. For cattle in the R=3= grade 394c/kg was received on average by farmers which was up €0.02 on the previous week. While for O=3= steers farmers received on average 379c/kg also which was down €0.03 also on the previous week.
Cow prices were particularly hard hit in recent weeks following on from severe cuts since the start of the year. Average cow factory prices were down last week across all the grade classes. Sample prices include top class U=3= cows on average made 320c/kg down €0.20 on the previous week. R=3= grade cows last week were receiving 326c/kg on average, down €0.11 on the previous week. Poorer grading O=3= were also more or less unchanged last week at 292c/kg up €0.01.
Heifer factory prices were also not immune to downward pressure across all grade classes in recent weeks. Quotes for heifers were generally in the region of €3.90 to €4/kg base price. Quality U=3= heifers were making 430c/kg on average last week up €0.01 on the previous week. Farmers killing R=3= heifers were receiving 407c/kg on average which is up €0.01 on the previous week. O=3= heifers average prices were 391c/kg unchanged on the previous week.
In Northern Ireland the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) in their latest market bulletin report quotes from the plants this week for U-3 grade prime cattle ranged from 320-326p/kg with the majority of plants quoting 324p/kg for steers and 324-326p/kg for heifers. There have however been reports of some producers securing better deals with reports of prime cattle numbers starting to tighten. The bonus payment continues to be available for cattle that fulfil the in spec requirements. Quotes for O+3 grading cows have remained steady at 230-244p/kg with the majority of plants quoting 240-244p/kg.
The LMC also outline young bull prices have continued to come under pressure with an average young bull price of 289.5p/kg last week. There was however an increase in the proportion of young bulls over 16 months of age in the price reported slaughter mix. Last week 27 per cent of the young bulls slaughtered were over 16 months of age compared to 21 per cent the previous week.