Beef quotes have steadied this week, with factories maintaining last week’s prices.

Procurement managers, especially Limerick-based ones, appear to be in a lot better form this week and a lot of them seemed to have parked the negative talk for a few days.

Heifers are working off €4.20/kg in most factories, with €4.25/kg back on the table to a few of the more regular, larger suppliers.

Bullocks are generally working off €4.15/kg, with €4.20/kg being paid where big numbers are involved.

Under-16-month bulls are in very short supply, but any that are being sold are moving at €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg.

Under-24-month bulls are working off €4.15/kg to €4.20/kg, while U grading bulls are being quoted at €4.25/kg to €4.30/kg.

Staffing problems

Staffing problems and COVID-19 outbreaks are still an issue in a few factories and this appears to be dictating the demand for beef rather than demand from customers.

Farmers selling dairy-cross beef animals should do the sums on selling at a flat price.

At an O= grade, between 18c and 24c/kg which takes away any breed bonus that you may have been getting.

Quality assurance comes in at 20c/kg when the full rate is achieved, but drops back to 12c/kg when the grade comes in at O-or 4+.

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.

For any farmer with small numbers of cows to sell, the mart ring is still the place to bring them, with factory agents able to pay a lot more around the mart ring than they are in a farmer’s yard.

UK market

According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), UK imports of fresh and frozen beef grew in June 2021, lifting 9% when compared on a year-on-year basis.

UK beef imports were up 24% when compared with May imports, with the largest increase coming from Irish imports, which were up 600t on the same month in 2020.

Imports from Uruguay stood at 430t during June, while the UK imported 400t of beef from Poland during June.

In the year to date, the UK has imported 100,000t of fresh and frozen beef, 10% less than at the same point in 2020.