Beef market report: Only 5c heifer premium in bid to control prices

There is very little change in the range of prices being quoted for beef animals at factories this week, but the underlying price trend remains positive for beef farmers.

Processors remain very anxious for stock, following the tightening of the supply over recent weeks and, as a result, are paying over the quoted prices to get sufficient supply to meet requirements.

The base price quoted for the steers is 405 cents/kg in general, but reports from around the country indicate that a sizeable percentage are purchased off a base of 410 cents/kg.

The price premium for heifers over steer prices has tightened again, to 5 cents/kg, indicating close control of prices by processors.

Heifer prices are quoted at a base of 415-410 cents/kg, but a base of up to 415 cents/kg is being paid to get stock into factories this week, and there are some reports of up to 420 being secured, but this is far from being generally available.

Cow prices continue at around the level of recent weeks. The base range for O/P-grade cows is 330-345 cents/kg, while up to 365 cents/kg, is being paid for the better quality R-grade cows.

There was some recovery in the cattle intake last week, increasing to around 31,250 head.

In Britain, the beef trade continued its upward momentum over the past week, with average prices for R4L-grade steers reaching the equivalent of €4.55/kg, at 84p to the euro and adjusted for inclusion of VAT.

In France, the beef trade also edged upwards, on the back of stronger demand.

Better demand was also reported for imported product, with many retail promotions focused on both domestic and imported product.

Little change was reported in the beef market in Italy.

Bord Bia reports that South American exports to China were strong between January and April this year, and China accounted for around a third of Mercosur beef exports.

Meanwhile, US beef exports were up 15% year-on-year for the first quarter of this year, reaching over 290,000 tonnes, with stronger demand from Japan boosting the trade.

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