Farm Ireland

Monday 22 January 2018

Steer quotes firm at 450c/kg despite factory pressure

Joe Healy

Factories are trying hard to exert downward pressure on prices but are meeting with resistance from farmers who just can't afford to sell at lower prices.

The processors, while very anxious for all stock, have been attempting to pull cow prices for the past few weeks and are now trying it for all the other categories.

Last week's estimated kill was up at 27,117hd but despite the downward pressure, steer and heifer prices remained pretty firm.

Steer quotes and prices remain in the 445-455c/kg bracket, with the heifers quoted at 470-480c/kg. In truth, 470-475c/kg is buying most of them.

The best quote I heard for bulls was 460c/kg for a mix of R and U grades. The Us are generally selling at 455c/kg, with the Rs at 450c/kg. The O grades are making from 425-430c/kg.

A few factory men remarked that farmers, especially those with Friesian bulls, need to ensure that the bulls are of a suitable fat score before slaughter.


Prices for cull cows range from 330c/kg up to 420c/kg. The P+ cows are making 330-360c/kg, with the Os at 350-380c/kg. R grades are at 390-410c/kg, while the top price mentioned for Us was 420c/kg.

Also Read

IFA livestock chairman Henry Burns said the beef trade remained very strong, with the base price for steers at €4.55 to €4.60/kg. Heifers are at €4.75 to €4.85 and bulls from €4.55 to €4.70. He said farmers were strongly resisting factory pressure and getting €3.80/€3.85 for O grades and €4.00/€4.10 for R grades.

Meanwhile, Bord Bia described the beef trade as steady last week, with strong export demand underpinning trade, especially in the UK. Best trade reported was for in-spec cattle.

Base prices quoted for R grade steers under the Quality Payment System were generally €4.50-4.55/kg, while quotes for heifers were €4.75-4.80/kg, with export meat plants paying an additional 12c/kg for in-spec quality assured stock. O-grade cull cows made €3.70-3.80/kg.

To date this year, cattle supplies are running 53,000hd higher than last year. The majority of the increase in availability to date this year is evident in the steer and cow category.

In the UK, trade remained solid as favourable weather conditions continue to help demand for steak cuts. Supplies of round cuts are reportedly adequate to meet current demand levels.

Trade for forequarter product continues to remain steady.


Reported cattle prices from the AHDB eased slightly during the past week, with GB R4L grade steers averaging Stg 404.5 pence/kg deadweight (equivalent to 498c/kg including VAT deadweight) for the week ended June 8.

On the Continent, trade remained firm across most markets during the week.

Overall, trade was to be helped by ongoing tight supplies across key export markets.

Strong demand is evident for hindquarter product, with best trade for fillets and striploins. Trade for forequarter product remained steady. In Italy, the R3 young bull price increased by 2c/kg to €4.07/kg, while the O3 cow price increased by 1c/kg to €3.29/kg.

In France, the R3 young bull price eased by 2c/kg to €4.03/kg, while the O3 cow price was also unchanged at €3.95/kg including VAT.

Irish Independent