This week’s beef trade has moved up another notch, with processors quoting €3.80/kg last week having to move to €3.85/kg this week to get cattle.

Meanwhile, €3.90/kg and higher is also being paid by some processors where numbers and distances are involved.

The main processors have increased their presence on the ground in the last few days, with agents very active in yards.

Bullocks have also moved up to €3.80/kg, with €3.85/kg also reported as being paid to larger suppliers and regular sellers.

Bite in the market

There appears to be particular bite in the market in both the northwest and the southeast, with quotes moving up faster in these areas compared with others.

Deals on transport for locations outside of the normal factory catchment area are available.

R grade under 24 month bulls are moving off €3.70/kg-€3.75/kg with U grades priced at €3.80/kg. Under 16 month bulls are still being purchased at €3.70-€3.75/kg .

Cow trade

There is still good demand in the cow trade, with €3.00/kg being paid for well-fleshed P grading cows.

O grading cows are generally trading at €3.10/kg, while R grading cows are moving at €3.40/kg to €3.50/kg.

Top-quality young cows are still commanding higher prices in marts, equivalent to what they are worth to kill in factories, with well-fleshed young cows hitting €2.20/kg in marts around the country.

2021 kill estimate

At Friday’s Bord Bia meat marketing seminar, Bord Bia estimated that there could be 80,000 fewer cattle coming through for slaughter in 2021.

Some of this is down to having higher live exports in 2019.

At the beginning of 2020, Bord Bia had predicted the 2020 kill to be back by 55,000 head.

However, the changing pattern of our national kill shifting to younger dairy beef animals being slaughtered actually led to a 40,000 increase in the kill during 2020.

The Bord Bia analysis also showed the most recent AIMS database figures on 1 November 2020 had almost 80,000 fewer cattle aged between 24 and 36 months.

Ireland’s cattle kill came to 1.8 million head in 2020 and this could drop to 1.72 million head in 2021.