Processors are increasingly anxious about the availability of finished cattle, with the Easter period and the re-opening of food service outlets in Britain both expected to generate a surge in demand.

While local processors are managing to keep a lid on the trade, higher prices are being offered to regular finishers to secure supplies.

Despite base quotes remaining unchanged on 370p/kg, prices paid start around the 378p to 382p/kg mark for U-3 grades.

Those selling cattle on a regular arrangement report that deals of 386p to 388p/kg are more common than in recent weeks. At the upper end, finishers with bigger numbers of in-spec cattle are getting prices into the low the 390’s.

Prices in Britain are also edging upwards with some plants in Scotland up 8p to 390p/kg for R4L grading animals.

In the marts throughput of slaughter fit and short keep stores has tailed off.

With competition strong among buyers, U-grading type steers and heifers continue to make 220p to 240p/kg.

Cattle with lower conformation are selling for 180p to 210p/kg depending on quality with cull cows making 160p to 190p/kg for well-fleshed animals.

While the beef trade looks positive for the spring, feed prices are expected to rise again next month leaving many finishers scrutinising closely the economics of intensive finishing.

Read more

British animal transport plans slammed

Beyond Meat reports €40m losses for 2020