Beef prices down; cows higher

BEEF prices have dropped by an average of 1c-2c/kg at the factories as the supply of cattle is maintained well above average for August. However, but the actual price paid held 3c-6c/kg (1p-2p/lb) higher than the officially quoted rates by the processors.

Intake increased to almost 35,000 head last week, of which bullocks accounted for 17,728, an increase of 800 on the previous week, and 1,400 head higher than the same week in 2006.

Although the higher intake has contributed to overall downward pressure on prices at the plants prices for bullocks were maintained or marginally stronger at one-in-four of the individual factories, but lower by 3c-4c/kg at one third of the factories.

Heifers maintained a lead of 5c/kg (2p/lb) over the bullocks and prices for quality cows made further gains in strong demand.

An average of 285c/kg (102p/lb) was paid for R4L bullocks, down 2c/kg on the previous week. Donegal Meats paid the leading price at 291c/kg (104p/lb) just ahead of Euro Foods (Duleek), AIBP (Waterford), Slaney Meats (Bunclody) Dunbia Newgrange and AIBP (Bandon). An average of 273c/kg (97.6p/lb) was paid for O4L bullocks.

R4L heifers averaged 290c/kg (103.4p/lb). Kepak (Clonee) paid an average of 304c/kg (108.6p/lb). Euro Foods and Dawn (Waterford) averaged 295c (105.4p/lb), with Dunbia Newgrange at 294c/kg and AIBP (Waterford) paying 293c/kg.

An average of 275c/kg (98.2p/lb) was paid for O3 heifers.

Ashbourne Meats at Roscrea dominated the trade for the quality cows, paying an average of 265c/kg (94.7p/lb) for R3 grade and 247c/kg (88.3p/lb) for O4L grade. Prices paid for R grade cows ranged 231-265c/kg (82p-94p/lb) and O grade varied 223-247c/kg (79p-88p/lb) which underlines the scope for benefit from shopping around before selling cows.

Slaney (Freshford) and Kildare Chilling both paid 223c/kg (84p/lb) for P grade cows.

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