Beef Prices: Prices hold despite huge weekly kill of 35,000 head

Usually by December numbers gradually fall off and the price strengthens.
Usually by December numbers gradually fall off and the price strengthens.
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

HIGH kill levels are continuing this month with weekly averages hitting around 35,000 - a figure that traditionally would be unexpected.

Usually by December numbers gradually fall off and the price strengthens.

However, that hasn’t happened and instead numbers and prices have gradually increased. Yesterday, various sources said that factories were trying to start the week 5c/ kg less at €3.70 for bullocks and €3.80/kg for heifers.

“They want cattle but they don’t want to pay for them” was the quotable synopsis from more than one feeder.

A factory man in the west said: “They quoted €3.70 last week and gave €3.75 all week long; they are just trying to keep a lid on the price while keeping the cattle coming”.

As factories opened yesterday they probably had at least two days kill bought from last week at €3.75/kg for bullocks with the heifers on €3.85 which in effect leaves this week’s prices unchanged at those levels.

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Moving to the cow trade it too remains stable with no major changes to report despite week on week numbers being up by 20-25pc on their 2015 levels at 8,403 for the week ending December 3, versus 6,505 for the same week last year.

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This then sees R’s on €3.20-€3.25/kg with O’s at €3-€3.10 while the better P’s continue to be bought at prices from €3 back to €2.80/kg. It’s worth shopping around as some plants remain keener than others.

The trade for bulls sees prices also largely unchanged with under 16 months remaining fairly static at €3.85/kg for U’s while reports of €3.90 have also surfaced. R’s are on €3.75 while O grades vary depending on the makeup of the deal and numbers appear to range from the mid €3.50’s to €3.65/kg.

The lower figure is generally for Friesian type stock whose numbers continue to rise. Bulls up to 24 months are selling off a base of €3.80/kg. Friesian bulls The continuing rise in Friesian bull numbers is causing a certain level of stress among some of the more intensive traditional continental feeders who view the animal as keeping the price of their better conformation stock on a lower peg.

Meanwhile, young bull numbers stood at 4,323 as against 3,627 for the same week last year.

With sterling stable the final word goes to the factory agent who said: “Factories have to be making money. They could not have envisaged sterling being at .84p and stable at that figure six months ago. “Make no mistake we all want them to make money but we’d like to as well”.

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