No change in base quotes but beef kill soars to record high

Some factories across the country have reported a lower kill on the back of ex-hurricane Ophelia last week.

There were reports of factories closing on Monday afternoon (October 16) and Tuesday morning (October 17), due to power outages.

However, procurement managers across the country have reported strong numbers of beef cattle being available for slaughter again this week.

The wet conditions that continue across the country will make it easier for factories to secure supplies, as farmers in wet regions have no choice but to market their stock.

Again factory quotes, for steers and heifers, remain largely unchanged this week. Factories are offering a base price of 370-375c/kg for steers and 380-385c/kg for heifers.

However, there are reports of some farmers securing deals of up to 5c/kg more – for well-finished cattle that meet market specifications.

Most processors are offering 300-315c/kg for P-grade cows and 315-325c/kg for O-grade animals. R-grade cows are making 330-350c/kg.

Cattle supplies

Cattle supplies at Irish export meat plants for the week ending October 14 reached over 38,000 head. That’s an increase of over 2,000 head or 7% when compared to the same week during 2016, according to Bord Bia.

Cumulative throughputs are up 6% or over 72,000 head – amounting to approximately 1.36 million head. Steers and heifers witnessed the highest cumulative increases – up 9% and 7% respectively. Cull cows are up 5%.

However, supplies of young bulls are back 6% when compared to the corresponding period in 2016.

In relation to carcass weights, for the first three quarters of the year, there has been a decrease of approximately 1% when compared to 2016 figures.

Main markets

According to Bord Bia, the British trade has eased again this week on the back of recovering throughputs, with little change in demand.

In terms of price, the AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) has reported that R-grade steer prices decreased and were averaging at 426c/kg for the week ending October 14. The latest heifer prices were 417c/kg in Britain and 392c/kg in Northern Ireland.

Again similar to last week, in France, little change was reported in the market, with demand highest for domestically-produced product.

Looking at producer prices, the latest R-grade young bull price increased to 391c/kg. In addition, the cow price remained unchanged at 324c/kg.

In Italy, trade was reported as steady for most products. R-grade young bulls were making 405c/kg, while cow prices increased slightly to 287c/kg.

Bord Bia stated that Argentinian beef output continues to rise following renewed confidence in the sector. This is largely helped by stronger demand – particularly from China.