While beef processors have conceded a little on prices to farmers over the past three weeks, they maintain a tight rein.
The pattern of giving just enough to maintain the inflow of cattle has been continued at plants this week, despite tightening in cattle supplies over the past fortnight.
Quoted prices for steers remain unchanged at 370-375 cents/kg.
There are some isolated reports of up to 380 cents/kg being paid for better quality animals.
Heifer prices are running at a premium of 5 cents/kg over steer prices, with the overall pattern similar to that for the steers.
Farmers should however be aware that most processors are penalising over-30 months animals by 10 cents/kg, and some are applying a much heavier penalty where the animals are over 36 months of age, even by one day.
The penalties for over or under spec weights also remain a matter of contention for farmers, as do the processors’ requirements from farmers if they are to qualify for the QA bonus with their cattle.
EU statistics show that the average Irish beef price for the month to mid-July ranked in eight place (Great Britain was second, and Northern Ireland was fourth).
The Irish beef price had fallen 13.8 c/kg from the previous month, to 366.6 c/kg.
The average EU price was 384.6 c/kg.
Over the same period, the average price increased by 9.4 c/kg in Northern Ireland, and 3.8 c/kg in Britain.
Italy moved up from third position on the table to the top place, with a price increase of 7.3 c/kg.
Meanwhile, intake at the Irish export factories slipped to 27,940 head last week, compared to 29,204 for the same week last year.
The cow trade is positive, with good demand, in particular for the heavier R-grade cows, which are making up to 345 cents/kg. The base price range being quoted for O/P-graders is 290-325 cents/kg.
There has been a slight increase in cattle prices in Britain over the past week, with R4L-grade steers averaging equivalent to 448 cent/kg (including VAT).
There has been very little change in the beef trade in France in Italy.
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