The beef trade improved slightly during the week for certain categories of cattle with strong supplies still evident. This is according to Bord Bia’s latest market update, which also noted that in most of our key export markets, demand is showing signs of some recovery as we approach the Summer.

Bord Bia says prices quoted by export meat plants continued to remain steady. Steers were on average purchased at a base price of between €3.90 and €3.95/kg on the Quality Payment System. Heifers traded at a base price of between €3.95 and €4.00/kg.

These prices exclude the €0.12/kg bonus which is payable on in-spec QA animals. Prices paid for O grade cull cows edged upwards and are now making between €2.95 to €3.10/kg.

Department of Agriculture date shows that cattle supplies at export meat plants for the week ending 19th April stood at just over 31,700 head, which was down around 500 head on the previous week. Supply was over 3,500 head or 13% higher than the equivalent week in 2013. Cumulative supplies for the year to-date are running at around 58,000 head higher.

In the UK, reported cattle prices from the AHDB showed little change with GB R4L grade steers averaging at Stg 366.8 pence/kg dw (equivalent to 445.7 cent/kg dw) for the week ended 19th April.

Bord Bia highlights that trade has eased somewhat following the Easter period. Best demand reported is for steak cuts. It says across our key export markets, there continues to be a seasonal shift from forequarter cuts to hindquarter cuts. In France, the R3 young bull price was unchanged at €3.81/kg, while the 03 cow price was up 4c to €3.44/kg. In Italy, the R3 young bull price was down 6c to €3.95/kg and the 03 cow price was unchanged at €2.74/kg.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland quotes from the plants this week for U-3 grade prime cattle have remained steady at 326-330p/kg according to the Livestock and Meat Commission.

It says similar quotes are expected for this week from the majority of plants but one plant has quoted 324-326p/kg.

The LMC stresses that the 10-14p/kg bonus is available for steers and heifers that kill out in spec and producers should consult with individual processors about bonus requirements as there is some variation between plants. Quotes for O+3 cows from the plants have remained steady at 240-250p/kg

Prime cattle throughput in NI last week totalled 6,367 head, back 5.5 per cent from the previous week when 6,734 prime cattle were slaughtered. The average prime cattle carcass weight for 2014 to date has been 329.5kg compared to 331.9kg in the corresponding period in 2013.