Donegal Meats moved to increase quotes over the weekend to a number of producer groups in order to secure supplies for Monday morning’s kill. This brings its quotes to €4.40/kg base price for bullocks and €4.45/kg for heifers.
Cattle are particularly scarce in the northern half of the country, with most processors having to increase quotes in the last few days in order to get cattle.
Quotes for heifers have moved up to €4.25/kg, with €4.30/kg being paid to a few big suppliers to secure supplies.
Bullocks have also kicked on, with €4.20/kg now being at the lower end of the market and some reports of €4.25/kg being paid to those with numbers.
Factories have continued to ramp up throughput as much as they can over the last week and this week, with fears of another lockdown driving demand both here and across the water.
The bull trade is also livelier this week, with young bulls at €4.20/kg to €4.25/kg base price in most factories.
Under-24-month bulls are generally working off €4.20/kg for R grades and €4.30/kg to €4.35/kg for U grades.
The cow trade has also stayed pretty steady over the last week, despite some factories focusing on their prime cattle kill.
P+3 cows are working off €3.45/kg to €3.50/kg, with heavier P grading cows coming into 340kg to 350kg carcase weight managing €3.55/kg.
O grading Friesian cows are coming in at €3.50/kg, while O grading suckler cows are able to squeeze €3.60/kg out of the market.
R grading cows continue to trade off €3.80/kg to €3.85/kg, while good-quality U grading cows are still capable of getting €4.00/kg and more.
Across the water, the British beef price has kicked on again, with an R4L bullock coming in at £424.1p/kg (€5.33/kg/kg incl VAT).
An R3 bullock killed in Ireland this week killing out at 350kg carcase weight would come into €1,540. The same bullock killed in England last week would come into €1,866, some €326 ahead of the Irish price.
On a lorry load of 20 bullocks, that comes into over €6,500 of a difference.
Across Europe, beef prices have also increased in recent weeks, with the Irish price now lagging well behind many of our most important European export destinations.
The Irish price had been tracking ahead of the EU price for much of the autumn, but in recent weeks, it has fallen behind.
Table 1 outlines the Irish price compared with EU and UK price (prices are excluding VAT).