Substantial movement has been seen in beef price in all categories of cattle this week, as processors have moved to increase quotes by 20c/kg.

Generally, cattle price moves in increments of 5c/kg and a rise in price any higher than this in the space of a week would be seen as significant.

This week’s move of 20c/kg shows that the level of demand for beef has continued to increase, while supply is set to significantly tighten.

Over the past two or three weeks, factory quotes have been failing to keep pace with prices that were being observed at marts. However, this week’s move will likely see more farmers lifting the phone to their factory agent looking for a price and a booking to go direct to the factory with finished cattle.

The numbers of cattle going through factories is well ahead of last year, with 65,000 extra cattle processed so far this year. A total of 610,193 cattle (excluding veal) have been processed at Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine-approved facilities in the first 18 weeks of this year.

Prime cattle

Procurement staff at many sites were hesitant this morning when putting forward this week’s quotes, and some played it safe by putting forward a more conservative 10c/kg increase.

Leading the charge again this week is Foyle Meats in Co. Donegal, with €5.30/kg on the grid available for heifers with a carcass weight of between 300-400kg.

This would leave an in-spec R+3 grade Angus heifer with a carcass weight of 350kg coming into €5.76/kg, or €2,016.

€5.25/kg on the grid is on offer for bullocks with a carcass weight of between 300-400kg with the same processor.

Breed bonuses are available on in-spec Angus and Hereford heifers and steers of up to 30c/kg.

There is up to a 25c/kg difference between the highest and lowest-paying factories on prime cattle this week, when weight bonuses are included. However, processors with the lower quotes are likely paying more to regular customers to secure cattle.

Cow price

Looking at cow price this week and the general run for heavy, fleshed cows with a carcass weight over 270kg is €4.60/kg, €4.80/kg and €4.90/kg, for P, O and R-grade cows respectively.

€5/kg is being paid at some sites for good R-grade cows this week, and U-grade cows are being quoted at €5.00- €5.10/kg.

Again, deals are being made on cows at prices/kg substantially above these levels depending of the supplier’s bargaining power and the level of demand from the relevant processor.


For under-24-month bulls, a flat price of €5.20/kg is available for good R-grade bulls, €5.30/kg for U-grade bulls and €5.10 for O+ grade bulls.

Finally, under-16-month bulls are being quoted at €5.05-€5.10/kg.