Beef prices have come under more pressure at factories this week.
The seasonal increase in the supply of stock to factories has taken pressure off processors pay extra to source cattle.
Following the deterioration in the weather, with ground conditions on many farms becoming quite soggy, quoted prices for prime beef animals have been cut by 5-10 cents/kg.
While most processors have reduced base quote for steers to 375 cents/kg this week, some cattle farmers have been offered 370 cents/kg as a base, with heifer prices following in the same pattern, to a base of 385 cents/kg in general.
While those being offered 370 cents/kg for steers are generally negotiating for an extra 5 cents/kg, getting above that is very difficult, and cattle farmers are being faced with the choice of taking the going rate, or risking further cuts by holding out against selling.
The intake of cattle at factories increased by around 1,500 head last week to 34,000 head, the largest weekly kill in 2016 so far.
Steers accounted for 16,000, with the week-on-week increase in supply continuing, while both heifers and cows were steady at 7,500, and the kill of young bulls has now slipped to under 2,000 head.
Cow prices are holding steady at a base range of 280-300 cents/kg for O/P-grades, and up to 325 cents/kg for Rs.
In contrast to the pattern of trade in this country, robust trading was reported last week in Britain, where the supply was tight and demand relatively good.
The trade was best for steak cuts with a seasonal rise in demand for stewing cuts also reported.
Prices for R4L-grade steers were equivalent to 451 cent/kg (including VAT), even allowing for the euro making around 85p sterling.
The market in France continued to be underpinned by ongoing difficulties in getting imported product into retailers. Demand remained slow. However it is hoped that there will be some improvement over the coming weeks.
Promotions in some retailers have been focusing on domestically produced mince and rump steaks.
In Italy, little change was reported in the market last week.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved