Beef prices look like they may have turned a corner, with quotes creeping back up after three weeks of easier selling.
Steer quotes are up by 5c/kg to €3.65/kg in many plants, despite the weekly kill total remaining strong at 33,700. However, farmers are finding it easier to shift heifers, with the €3.65 quote more freely available.
Plain cows had an even better turn in fortunes, with a 10c/kg increase in quotes to €3/kg. U-grade cows are making €3.50-3.60/kg.
Bulls are also up by 5c/kg, proving the patchy improvement that has been underway in the Irish beef market over the last three weeks is now universal.
However, farmers remain anxious that the exceptionally mild weather that has characterised one of the mildest Septembers on record will break dramatically any time over the coming weeks, forcing larger number of weak sellers into the market with stock.
Teagasc's budget forecasts for finishers for 2015 paints a more optimistic picture, with a 10pc drop in store and weanling prices along with a €30/t decrease in meal costs allowing greater room for a margin next year.
Their calculations show that farmers could make a margin of €100/hd on Friesian bullocks at €3.90/kg next spring, while €4.45/kg would be required to return the same margin on a continental steer. Assumed purchase prices in the mart this autumn were €1.55/kg and €2.17/kg respectively.
Teagasc BETTER beef programme manager Aidan Murray is also pointed to predictions that suggest that there will be 150,000 less cattle in the system next year, which will pull weekly kill numbers below 30,000hd.
Dawn Meats CEO Niall Browne echoed this sentiment recently when he predicted a weekly kill of closer to 28,000hd next year.