Beef farmers could potentially lose €135 on heifers slaughtered this month compared to the same animals slaughtering in August.

This week the base heifer price factories are offering has dropped below the €4/kg mark. Processors are currently offering 395c/kg for these lots.

There has been a substantial decrease in the heifer beef price with these lots back 45c/kg since early August falling below the €4/kg mark.

This essentially means that a 300kg heifer carcass in August was worth in the region of €135 more than a heifer that will come forward to factories this week.

The base steer price has slipped slightly on previous weeks and it now sits at 385c/kg, this also represents a fall of 45c/kg since early August or €135/head on a 300kg carcass.

Despite last week’s drop in cow beef price, the majority of plants have kept prices relatively unchanged this week.

The majority of beef processors are now sitting at 350c/kg for R grade cows, but the quotes offered range from 350-385c/kg.

At present, factories are offering 340-345c/kg for the plainer O grade dairy type cows, while farmers are being offered 330-335c/kg for the P type lots.

National beef kill down 4.7%

Cattle throughput to Irish meat export plants is back by over 57,000 head compared to the same time last year, according to figures from the Department of Agriculture.

This year’s national beef kill for the week commencing September 21, has fallen by 4.7% with the kill currently sitting at 1.16m. This represents a reduction of 57,047 head, down from 1.22m in 2014.

Cumulatively, heifer throughput so far this year is back by 6,994 head while the cumulative steer throughput has increased by almost 30,000 head

Last week’s total kill at export meat plants is also down on the same week in 2014, it currently sits at 30,575 which is a fall of 3,117 head.

Weekly heifer throughput to Irish export plants has also dropped on 2014 levels. The total heifer kill for the week commencing September 21 stood at 7,056, which is a fall of 971 on 2014 levels.

Cattle trade

The British R4L beef price has also dropped by 1p/kg to 362p/kg (488c/kg) for the week ending September 26, with heifers of the same spec averaging 361.1p/kg, according to Bord Bia.

In Britain, strongest demand is reported for round cuts and lean forequarter product. The warm weather has also helped sales of steak cuts to hold reasonably well into the autumn, says Bord Bia.

In France, the beef trade remains difficult as the retail beef trade remains focused on domestic beef and there is very little price promotion taking place to lift volume, it says.