Teagasc budget guidelines for beef indicate that a factory price of €5.85/kg (carcass weight) will be needed for farmers finishing continental steers to breakeven this winter.

The figures were outlined at a Teagasc winter beef-finishing event which took place at Kikenny Mart on Tuesday (September 13).

The Teagasc guideline figures for finishing steers this winter are broken down into three categories: Continental-cross; Hereford-cross and Friesian.

Farmers in attendance at the event which took place at Kilkenny Mart

Speaking at the event, Teagasc’s beef enterprise leader, Paul Crossan, told farmers that the budgets are simply guideline figures and said that different farm systems will have different costs. He encouraged beef farmers to do up their own costings using figures relevant to their farms.

Commenting on why no profit margins were included in the costings, Crossan said that different farmers will expect different margins and explained how a margin/head can be factored into the budget to identify the beef price required to achieve that margin.

The table below is the Teagasc steer-finishing budget for winter 2022/2023:

FriesianHereford XContinental X
October purchase weight:500kg500kg530kg
Silage required: 5.5t5.5t5.0t
Meal: (Kg/head/day)4kg4kg4.5kg
Average daily gain: (kg)0.9kg0.9kg1.0kg
Liveweight at sale: (kg)626kg626kg670kg
Carcass weight: (kg)326kg332kg375kg
Assumed purchase price: (€/kg liveweight)€2.18/kg€2.51/kg€2.85/kg
Purchase price: (€/head)€1,090€1,255€1,511
Plus costs: (€/head)
Variable costs:€571€571€577
Fixed costs:€95€97€101
Total costs: €666/head€668/head€678/head
Breakeven selling price required: €/head€1,756€1,923€2,189
Breakeven selling price required: €/kg carcass€5.39/kg€5.80/kg€5.84/kg
Source: Teagasc

As can be seen from the table above, the costings will vary from farm to farm and the above are only to be used as a guide.

Farmers can use the same table template while adding their own costings to work out what their estimated breakeven beef price will be this winter.

When including a margin/head into the price per kilo needed, the required margin (€) should be divided by the target carcass weight (kg). This figure can then be added to the breakeven price required giving the price per kilo needed to obtain the expected margin.

For the above Teagasc costings, the following assumptions were made:

  • High average daily gain;
  • Meal cost at €440/t;
  • Quality silage with a dry matter digestibility of 72% made at a cost of €50/t;
  • Dosing and health costs at €8/head;
  • Transport and marketing at €42/head;
  • Half the interest on feed and animals borrowed at 7%;
  • No mortality.

Other speakers at the event included the Irish Farmers’ Association’s livestock chairperson Brendan Golden, and Kepak Group’s procurement manager Jonathan Forbes.