September can sometimes be an uncertain time in the beef trade.

Numbers of animals coming off grass usually start to appear and the weather can sometimes play into factories' hands a little if the rain comes.

2021 is panning out like no other in the beef trade and, as far as I can see, there is nothing coming down the tracks this September to upset anything in the trade.

Yes, cattle are starting to come off grass and are killing out very well on flesh scores, but there is no big glut of animals in the system and the kill will likely hover around the 30,000 mark for the foreseeable future.

Bord Bia has estimated that the kill between now and December will contract by 40,000 head, which is further good news for beef finishers.

Bullocks continue to trade off €4.15/kg, with €4.20/kg being paid to the bigger, more-regular suppliers.

The higher price is also being paid to secure heifers where both are included on a load.

Heifers are in demand, with €4.20/kg now at the very base of the market and €4.25/kg being paid to the larger, regular suppliers.

Bull trade

Bulls are working off €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg for R grading bulls, with 5c to 10c/kg extra going for U grading bulls.

Younger under-16-month bulls are working off €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg on the grid.

Cow trade

The cow trade remains steady, with R grading cows still hitting €3.85/kg to €3.90/kg, with U grading cows making 5c to 10c/kg more.

O grading cows are also still strong, with €3.70/kg to €3.80/kg being paid for fleshed cows. P grading cows are generally being bought at €3.55/kg to €3.65/kg.

Good-quality fleshed cows continue to hit big money in marts, with Norther Ireland (NI) wholesalers very active for the right type of cows.

I saw cows hit €2.40/kg in marts over the weekend. The mart ring is still the place if you have small numbers.


The news from Brazil over the weekend that it has suspended beef exports to China is big news in the global beef trade. Brazil’s beef exports of beef to China had grown considerably in 2021.

It will be interesting to see how this one pans out and Ireland will be watching with interest.

Ireland has been locked out of the Chinese market for the last two years as a result of an atypical BSE case found in a cow in May 2019.

The Irish Government has assured Irish farmers that all necessary checks and inspections have been completed by the Chinese authorities and the decision to allow Irish exports resume was now at diplomatic level.

Brazil’s two cases were also atypical BSE, but I would suspect that Brazil won’t be locked out of the lucrative Chinese market for two years, like Ireland, as it is much too big to lock out for that length of time.

If it is locked out of the market for a prolonged period, the European market could be a destination it could target, but the EU could apply a similar ban on imports until it was satisfied that Brazilian imports were safe for EU consumers.