Most factory beef kills will take place over a 4-day week or less (with the odd exception) this week, as Christmas Eve (Friday, December 24) approaches.

Next week, it seems most – if not all – processors will be operating a 3-day kill from Wednesday-Friday.

As the cattle processing year draws to a close and throughput will likely be well back for this week and next week, beef price is continuing on firm footing, with no sign of trade dampening in any category of beef cattle.

Overall, the trade is much the same this week as it was last week, with the odd finisher managing to secure a few cents more here and there as a sort of ‘Christmas bonus’.

However, while it may be the season of goodwill, procurement staff remain as rigid as ever on their pricing and any slight ‘Christmas bonus’ that may be obtained on beef cattle this week, will have to be negotiated.

Factory quotes

Starting with heifers and €4.30-€4.35/kg on the grid seems to be the general run this week, with a factory in the northwest offering a 10c/kg bonus for all animals with a carcass weight of between 300-400kg.

Next up is steers and €4.25-€4.30/kg on the grid is the general run here this week, with the same Donegal-based factory offering a 10c/kg carcass weight bonus.

Looking at cows and good, well-fleshed, U-grading cows are comfortably securing over €4.00/kg from the many processors keen for cows again this week.

Plainer cows in their respective grades are securing €3.90, €3.70 and €3.60/kg for R, O and P-grade cows respectively, with up to 10c/kg more available for well fleshed, better-type cows in their respective grades.

P-grade cows continue to dominate in the cows category with just under 60% of the cows processed in week ending December 11, grading a P.

With this in mind, farmers with a bunch of well-fleshed R and O-grade cows should know what they have when bargaining on a price.

Looking at under-24 month bulls and U-grade bulls are being quoted at a flat-price of €4.30/kg.

€4.20, €4.10 and €4.00/kg is on offer for ‘middle of the road’ R, O and P-grade bulls respectively, with more money to be secured for better-type bulls in their respective grades.

Finally, under-16 month bulls are generally quoted at €4.20/kg on the grid, with more money available in some cases.