There is a steadier tone to the beef trade this week at factories, where the slide in quoted prices has come to a welcome halt.
The intake of cattle at the plants has also steadied, at just under 30,000 head — enough of a slide to restore some farmer bargaining power.
Within the kill, however, the the decline has been in young bulls, while both steer and heifer supply remains strong.
Quoted base prices for steers is generally at 380 cents/kg, while up to 385 cents/kg is being paid at some of the factories, in order to procure cattle supplies.
Getting above 385 cents/kg is more difficult, with processors holding a firm line on upward price movement.
Heifers are generally at a price base of 390 cents/kg, although up to 400 cents/kg is being paid — the exception rather than the rule this week.
Looking at the supply pattern, there was very little change in the overall intake last week, at 29,845 head.
Young bulls dropped by 2,500-3,000 head, to 2,790.
Last week’s steer kill was around 12,000 head, an increase of about 800 on the previous week.
The heifer supply remained steady, at about 7,000, while the supply of cows was also stable.
Imrpoved farming weather last week would certainly have had some influence on supply, which could show a slight increase this week.
However the bank holiday on Monday next usually results in a drop in intake for the week, which could help to keep the trade in balance.
Cow prices are largely unchanged from a base of 280 cents/kg for P-grade, to 295-300 cents/kg for Os.
There is still good demand for the quality Rs, which are making up to 320 cents/kg.
In Britain, the trade during the past week continued to reflect demand outweighing the current supply level.
The average prices for R4L-grade steers and heifers were Stg 345.5p/kg and Stg 334.8p/kg respectively. In euros, the British steer price is now equivalent to around 425 cents/kg (when VAT is included).
In France, the beef market remains unchanged with retailers buying domestically produced beef; it is still difficult to get imported product into the retail market.
Promotions in the main multiples focused on domestically produced products such as mince and rump steaks.
The market in Italy, is reported to be remaining slow with little upturn in consumption reported.
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