Factories are moving into Christmas mode from this week on, with prime cattle in firm demand on foot of this.
With a high kill and no wavering in price, it’s a sure sign that cattle are in demand. I’m aware of a number of procurement managers sending friendly texts over the weekend to see if cattle were coming into lairages on Tuesday.
Bullocks continue to work off €4.15/kg, while heifers continue to be quoted at €4.20/kg. Aberdeen Angus cattle are in particular demand, with a 15-20c/kg bonus going in most factories for suitable in-spec stock.
The cow trade continues to be a little easier, with P+3 cows under the most pressure, attracting quotes of around the €3.40-€3.50/kg mark. O grading cows are coming in at €3.55/kg to €3.70/kg, depending on negotiating power.
R grades range from €3.80/kg to €3.90/kg and U grades from €3.90/kg to €4.00/kg.
The trade in marts remains firm for top-quality beef cows, with this a good alternative outlet to consider for farmers struggling to negotiate with factories.
Northern buyers remain active in mart sales for top-quality cows and heifers in particular, but numbers moving north have been lower than normal over the last three weeks.
There were 348 head exported for direct slaughter in the week before last compared with 464 in the previous week and almost 600 head for the corresponding week in 2020.
IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden said: “EU prices have risen by 10c/kg over the past two weeks. When combined with the strong steady beef prices in the UK, this has now pushed the Prime Export Benchmark price 5c/kg above the prime Irish composite price to €4.16/kg, compared to the Irish price of €4.11/kg.
“These strengthening market conditions must be reflected in price increases from factories. With supplies not matching demand, farmers should sell hard to push prices on.”