Factories have had to increase quotes again this week, with the supply of finished cattle still under pressure.

The three-day week last week meant factories were able to fill the week's kill without any price rises, but this week is a full week’s kill and the pressure is back to meet throughput requirements for the week in some locations.

Donegal Meats has moved quotes up another 5c/kg this week in order to get cattle. That takes its base price to €4.90/kg for heifers killing out between 300kg and 400kg and €4.85/kg for bullocks killing out between 300kg and 400kg.

General quotes

The general run of quotes ranges from €4.65/kg to €4.75/kg for bullocks, with the lower end of the quotes in the south of the country.

Heifers are more in demand, with €4.70/kg to €4.85/kg base price being paid for in-spec heifers, again with the lower end of the quotes tending to be in the south of the country.

Anybody with numbers is now in a very strong position and factories have been looking at forward pricing systems to take some of the risk out of buying forward stores at the moment.

This ranges from a bonus of 20c to 40c/kg coupled with a minimum price based on finisher costs.

Adequate supplies

April, May and June continues to a period of concern for factories as to sourcing adequate supplies.

One factory group has moved in the last two weeks to take on extra yards and ramped up purchasing of forward cattle requiring a 70- to 100-day finishing period.

Flat-priced deals are still very common, with a lot of farmers with dairy-type stock opting to sell cattle flat in the last few weeks.

Deals have been hammered out for mixes of O and R grade heifers at €5.30/kg this week.

Cow demand continues

Cows continue to be in big demand, with up to €4.55/kg being paid for U grade cows.

The general run of R grade cows are ranging from €4.30/kg to €4.40/kg, with O grading cows ranging from €4.20/kg to €4.25/kg.

Factory agents remain very active for cows in marts around the country, with up to the equivalent of €4.80/kg deadweight being paid for some cows in mart rings.

Bull prices

Bulls are working off €4.80/kg to €4.90/kg for U grading under-24-month bulls, with €4.60/kg to €4.70/kg on offer for R grading bulls. Under-16-month bulls are working off €4.60/kg to €4.65/kg base price.

UK imports rise

Imports of beef into the UK were up 45% according to HM Revenue and Customs.

The UK imported 20,900t of fresh and frozen beef during January 2022, up from 14,400t in January 2021.

The average value of imported beef product to the UK was £4,800/t (€5,714/t).

Irish beef made up 80% of fresh beef imports at 9,364t of fresh beef.

Exports of frozen Irish beef to the UK stood at 5,749t for the month of January. This represents a doubling of the export figure for January 2021.