Beef supply continues to defy statistical estimates

Beef prices remained unchanged at the factories this week, with farmers failing to secure a lift in the market despite tight supplies.

The return of more seasonal weather over the week-end probably helped processors resist farmer demands for higher prices.

The quoted base price for steers remained at 385-390 cents/kg.

Farmers are trying hard to get the higher end of the price range, with mixed success.

Heifer prices continue to run at a premium of 10 cents/kg over steer prices, with quotes ranging from 395 to 400 cents/kg.

Finishers trying to get the higher end of the price range are having somewhat better success than sellers of bullocks.

Intake at the factories last week was unchanged at 30,600 head, down by 6,000 compared to the same week last year.

However, that 2014 supply may have been influenced by the IFA campaign of factory protests which kicked off the following Monday.

The supply over the past month has continued lower than was expected, based on statistical estimates; fine weather may have been the main influence holding back catle from factories.

There is no change this week in cow prices at the factories.

The base being quoted for O/P-grade cows ranges from 325 to 355 cents/kg, and up to 365 cents/kg is being quoted for R-grade cows.

In Britain, the average prices for R4L-grade steers eased by 4p/kg — for the second consecutive week — to the equivalent of 511 cent/kg (including VAT).According to Bord Bia, the market has eased slightly.

The trade has eased particularly for steaks and topsides as the market shifts towards increased seasonal demand for forequarter product. Recent cooler weather coupled with increased rain have had a negative impact on demand.

On the continent, the market for beef in France is reported to be continuing difficult, with little activity reported, and no sign of any improvement is expected until Christmas. Retail promotions are taking place on domestically produced striploins.

In Italy, little change has been noted in the market with relatively steady demand reported, and the price of R3 young bull increasing by 6c/kg, to 3.94/kg.


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