Beef market report: Beef cattle intake falls under 27,700 head

Processors have successfully defended their position and resisted pressure for stronger prices, despite the decline in the supply of cattle to factories.

Intake at the factories slipped to under 27,700 head last week.

Supply was affected by the shorter working week, with the May Bank Holiday on Monday.

Nevertheless, all of the indications on the ground point to to the 30,000 head weekly cattle intake having gone off the radar in the short term at least, with the late spring going to push out the delivery date for the first of the stock finished off grass this year.

Factory quotes are largely unchanged for this week’s supply.

The base on offer for steers remains at 395-400 cents/kg. Farmers are doing deals for a few cents/kg over the quoted prices, but meeting considerable resistance from processors to anything over that.

The percentage of the intake making the higher end of the price range is gradually moving upwards, but very slowly.

The national average base price paid for the steers has increased by 8 cents/kg over the past five weeks, while the base for heifers has moved upwards by the more conservative margin of 5 cents/kg.

During the same period, the weekly supply of cattle dropped from just under 31,000 head to last week’s intake of less than 27,700 head, a level, which, in the past at least, was usually capable of putting pressure on processors to source extra stock, thus strengthening farmers’ hand in negotiating upward price movement.

Cow prices are also holding unchanged. The base range on offer for O/P-grade cows is 305-325 cents/kg.

There is demand for the heavy, better quality cows, for which up to 355 cents/kg is achievable.

In Britain, the trade has been steady over the past week, with average prices for R4L-grade steers around Stg 322.4p/kg. In Euro terms, that is equivalent to 428/kg, at 79.1p and with VAT included.

In France, some improvement in the beef trade was noted on the back of a rise in demand for entrecotes, flank steaks and ribs. 

However it is reported to be still difficult to get imported product into retailers, who continue to favour French product.

There are a number of beef promotions taking place in some retailers that are centered on ribs, rumps and minced beef.

The beef market in Italy is experiencing increased supply, resulting in a downward trend in wholesale prices for forequarters.


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