Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 February 2018

Beef Prices: Kill figures steady but prices tighten

Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

While the first week of 2017 saw factory kill figures decline, numbers appear to have resumed.

According to Bord Bia, kill figures reached 32,128 for the week ending January 16 - similar to where they were at the end of 2016.

However, there has been an interesting shift in pricing.

Last week, top of the market for bullocks was €3.85/kg and €3.95/kg for heifers.

Although, in effect, this remains the case, sources say it is easier to get €3.95/kg for heifers than €3.85 /kg for bullocks.

In other words, factories have tightened up a little on price. Current demands for beef suggest the traditional turning point for farmer prices, 30,000hd per week, no longer applies.

The trick for processors now is holding the market share they have built up.

Secondly, if kills of up to 33,000 cattle a week continues, that extra 100,000 head in the system will gradually disappear without notice.

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Last week’s bull trade appears steady for stock up to 24 months at prices from €3.90/kg for U’s, €3.80 for R’s, with O’s on €3.70/kg. Under-16 month bulls are trading largely from €3.80/kg, although some have been offered less at €3.75/kg.

Cow prices are edging upwards with lesser P grades in the €3.00/kg region. Prices for the better P+3 types sits at about €3.10/kg, up about 10c/kg since the start of the year, while O grades remain between €3.10- 3.20/kg. R grades are pushing off €3.40/kg and onto €3.45/kg.

However, Brexit remains the fly in the ointment as questions hover over Andrea Leadsom, the UK environment minister’s recent comments that when it comes to food production post EU she will focus on “what works best for the UK”.

Online Editors