33,630 is highest beef cattle supply since 2014

Beef prices at the factories remained at a standstill for all categories this week, while supply continued at high levels.

The supply last week at around 33,630 head was the highest weekly intake since late 2014, and almost 2,000 higher than the same week last year.

The general price being quoted as a base for steers is 390 cents/kg, with processors judging that it is the least that cattle farmers are willing to accept.

There are some reports of a few cents more being negotiated by some sellers, but the higher prices are not generally available.

And processors are cutting into the returns for many beef finishers with penalties for over-age and over-weight animals, which are stirring up an old conflict with farmers.

ICSA President Patrick Kent told farmers at their AGM last week they are losing their fair share of the beef price, because the Beef Forum has failed to tackle the issue of penalties.

He said farmers are losing up to €80/head on a finished steer, in the form of penalties for animals marginally over-age and over-weight.

Heifer prices continue 10 cents/kg over steer prices, with a general base price of 400 cents/kg on offer.

However, the trade for heifers is a shade sharper than for steers, and farmers are successfully negotiating 405 cents/kg, and sometimes a few cents more, for better quality heifers.

The trade for cows is also unchanged at a general base of 300-330 cents/kg for O/P-grade cows, while the better Rs are making up to 350 cents/kg.

In Britain, prices have eased, with R4L-grade steers averaging equivalent to 471 cent/kg (including VAT). There has been little change in demand reported over the past week, and some rise in supply. Some improvement was reported in the steaks trade.

In France, the trade continues slow, with poor demand reported particularly for steak cuts, with trading most active for tongues and cheeks.

Plentiful volume of competitively priced imported product continues to affect the trade.

In Italy, there has been some uplift in the trade, and it is hoped that upcoming retail promotions will help the market further.


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