Farm Ireland

Sunday 19 November 2017

Cattle prices drop by 5-10c/kg amid pressure

Joe Healy

Many farmers would like to take a leaf out the British farmer rule-book and confront some of the processors, such is the annoyance with the downward pressure on the moolah the factories are prepared to pay for cattle.

Quotes are down by between 5-10c/kg across the board. At the same time, the trade in Britain is firm and in Italy R3 young bulls improved by up to 15c/kg.

The estimated kill remained slightly over 27,000hd last week.

This isn't the first time that July has proven to be a dodgy month on prices, and while it is no guarantee, other years have seen prices stabilise again after a factory-induced wobble.

But after the year we've had farmers just cannot afford to sell at prices that are any lower.

Processors need to show a bit of responsibility. Farmers, on the other hand, need to shop around and ensure they secure the best price possible.

While factories are talking the trade down, they remain anxious for stock.

Quotes and prices for steers range from 435c/kg to 445c/kg, with the east of the country reporting better prices.

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Quotes for the heifers more often than not vary from a low of 450c/kg up to 465c/kg, but prices of up to 470c/kg have been secured.


Mixtures of R and U-grade bulls have made up to 450c/kg but quotes and prices vary from 420c/kg to 440c/kg for the Rs and from 440c/kg to 450c/kg for the Us.

A few plants are quoting as low as 430c/kg for U grades. The O grades vary from 400c/kg up to 426c/kg for O+ bulls in the north-west. Friesian bulls graded at P2 or better have made 415c/kg flat.

The IFA's Henry Burns said that steers were making a base of 440-445c/kg, with heifer prices at 460-475c/kg. Bulls were making 430-450c/kg, while cull cows ranged from 330c/kg to 395c/kg.

Cull cows haven't escaped either, with the top cows now falling short of the €4/kg. U grades are making a top price of 390c/kg, with the Rs ranging from 360c/kg to 380c/kg.

Prices for the Os are generally in the 345-360c/kg area, while P grades are selling for anything between 330c/kg and 350c/kg, with as low as 320c/kg mentioned in the south.


Figures from Bord Bia show that to date this year cattle supplies are running 60,500hd higher than last year. The majority of the increase in availability to date is in steers and cows.

In Britain, the trade remains unchanged as favourable weather conditions continue to help.

Demand for steak cuts remains firm. Supplies of round cuts are reportedly adequate to meet current demand levels. Trade for forequarter product continues to remain steady.

On the continent, the trade has held firm across most markets.

Strong demand is evident for hindquarter product, with the best of the trade for fillets and strip-loins.

Trade for forequarter product remains steady.

Irish Independent