The beef trade at the factories is steady this week, with price changes, and intake and in balance.
Price increases are usually the exception rather than the rule at this time of the year, but some farmers have adopted a ‘hard sell’ attitude to squeeze a few more cents from the processors.
This is not proving to be an easy challenge.
Generally, steers are being quoted for at a price base of 380 cents/kg.
Some sellers are trying to hold out for a base of 385 cents/kg — not easily secured, unless the processor is under pressure to get enough cattle.
Heifers are being quoted for at a premium of 10 cents/kg over steer prices, with a general base of 390 cents/kg being offered, and it is difficult to get much more than that for heifers this week.
Cull cow prices are also hovering around the same scale as previous weeks.
P-grade cows are on a base of 280 cents/kg with Os at around 300-305 cents/kg, and up to 315 cents/kg being offered for R-grade cows.
Overall intake at the factories fell to around 28,200 head last week.
Close analysis of the figures shows that the steer supply at 12,500 head was up from the previous week, while heifers were back, at 6,300 head, and the supply of young bulls was also down, at around 2,300 head.
The beef trade in Britain has continued to be underpinned by tighter supplies, and demand remaining steady.
Trading for most cuts has remained steady, with demand best for steak cuts.
Reported prices show that R4L-grade steers equivalent to 437 cent/kg (including VAT).
The R4L-grade heifer is making equivalent to 412 cent/kg (including VAT).
The value of the euro versus the sterling remains higher compared to this time last year, which is an unfavourable trend for Irish exporters.
On the continent, very little change is reported from France, where ongoing difficulties in getting imported product into retailers is continuing to have a negative impact for exporters.
Limited retail promotions are presently centred on domestically produced mince and burgers.
In Italy, reduced beef consumption continues to affect the market, and in Germany, lower cattle supplies and higher demand have brought some uplift in the trade, resulting in higher prices.
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