Grass-finished cattle reaching their seasonal peak, with recent beef kills reaching its highest level of the year at in excess of 35,000 head. According to Bord Bia, UK retailers are now laying down stocks for pre-Christmas promotions, there has been some more demand for in-spec cattle.

Bord Bia says there has been little change in prices in the last week. The majority of steers were purchased at a base price of €3.65/kg on the Quality Payment System with selected lots making up to €3.70/kg. Heifers were being purchased on average at €3.70/kg with selected lots of heifers making up to €3.75/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 generally making between €3.15 to €3.25/kg.

Cattle supplies at export meat plants for the week ending October 18 stood at 35,736 head, which was up 9% on the figure for the equivalent week in 2013. Cumulative supplies for the year to-date are 11% or 132,884 head above the figures for the corresponding period last year currently standing at 1.33 million head. Throughput of prime cattle is up by 10%.

In Britain, Bord Bia reports cattle prices from the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) have increased, with GB R4L grade steers averaging at Stg 360.6p/kg DW equivalent to 480c/kg DW) for the week ended October 18. Trade has seen some change with retailers focusing on round cut promotions ahead of Christmas, which has in turn seen demand for steak cuts and forequarter cuts slow.

In France, the market continues to remain steady with some promotions focused on steak cuts.