Factory bosses flag price cut for bull beef
Up to 330,000 extra cattle and an increasing number of customer complaints have convinced factory bosses that bull beef prices should be slashed.
Bulls are currently making within 2-3c/kg of the steer base price, but the indications are that this differential could increase to 40c/kg in 2013.
While the national kill remains at a record low, official figures show that there are an extra 330,000 cattle under the age of 18 months on the ground compared to this time last year.
However, around 25,000 fewer calvings in 2010 and 340,000 live exports in the same year will prevent these extra numbers having a big impact on finished cattle supplies until next spring, Joe Burke of Bord Bia predicted.
"Live exports in 2012 will struggle to top 120,000hd," said Mr Burke. "So there's a lot more cattle in the pipeline."
In the meantime, beef plants are happy to use as much bull beef as possible to fill contracts. But it is causing problems for the factories' premium outlets, according to Mr Burke.
"We've been getting some complaints for a number of months but there has been a higher incidence over the last number of weeks," he admittd.
Bull striploins are up to 30pc bigger than those of steers and the subsequent cuts do not fit supermarket packaging or restaurant pricing levels.