Beef market report: Yard cattle drying up and farmers busy at silage

It is a steady week for the beef trade at factories, with the balance swinging a bit in favour of the cattle farmer, as the supply of finished stock remains stable, but tight.

Overall, prices being quoted are unchanged from last week for all categories of stock.

Processors are having to work a bit harder to get sufficient supplies, with the availability of yard stock drying up each week, and many farmers busy at silage this week, adding to the pressures on supply.

The base price quote for steers is generally at 405 cents/kg, while up to 410 cents/kg is being negotiated by some farmers. 

However, any finisher trying to get more than 410 cents/kg from the factories has a tough battle on his hands, with strong resistance from the processors, unless the local pressure to get stock has reached an extreme level.

The premium for heifers over the steer price has tightened a bit this week, with processors trying to keep the difference to 5 cents/kg in general.

But up to 10 cents/kg extra is being paid for heifers, with the base price in general at 410 cents/kg, plus a bit of 415 cents/kg being paid, and occasional deals being reported at up to 420 cents/kg, although they appear to be rare enough.

The supply of cows has increased, but prices remain stable at 310-335 cents/kg for O/P-grade, and up to 355 cents/kg for Rs.

The recovery in beef prices in Britain has continued for the second consecutive week, edging upwards on the back of increased demand, with trading strong for steak cuts.

R4L-grade steers and heifers are making around Stg 328 p/kg, which in euro terms is equivalent to €4.50/kg (with VAT included).

In France, the trade is reported to be remaining slow due to the effect of ongoing strikes which are delaying deliveries.

Bord Bia reports that the delays particularly affect produce with shorter shelf lives, such as burgers.

Meanwhile, demand also eased due to recent bad weather, and difficulties continue in getting imported product into retailers.

There has been no change in the trade in Italy over the past week.

At the world trade level, there has been a significant increase in beef exports from Argentina for the first four months of the year, with China the main destination in volume terms, while in value terms, Germany has given the highest returns.

Live cattle exports from Brazil are down more than 35% for the months of March and April 2016, compared to 2015, with the lower exports linked to the economic situation in Venezuela.


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