Beef quotes remain very steady this week, with factory buyers cautiously positive about the weeks ahead.
A number of factories that were still trying to buy bullocks at €5.20/kg last week have had to amend their quotes upwards this week in order to get cattle.
Most bullocks are now being bought at €5.25/kg.
Heifers were moving at €5.30/kg, with higher quotes going to those with numbers.
Foyle Meats in Donegal is still on top with its quote of €5.30/kg for bullocks killing out at 300kg to 400kg and €5.35/kg for heifers killing out at 300kg to 400kg.
There is still very good appetite for Aberdeen Angus bullocks and heifers, with a 30c/kg bonus on the table for in-spec cattle.
Hereford cattle are also in demand, with bonuses of up to 20c/kg on the table for bullocks and heifers.
Flat deals of as high as €5.80/kg are being paid for decent loads of Aberdeen Angus heifers this week.
In light of dwindling supplies, some factories have dropped the number of days they are killing each week for the next few weeks, with very few factories now killing a full week and many down to three- or four-day weeks for the foreseeable future.
It’s all a tactic to manage supply and throughput to avoid anybody having to pay too much for cattle in the next few weeks.
The top price in the young bull market is still coming in at €5.40/kg to €5.50/kg for U grades, with €5.30/kg to €5.40/kg on the table for well-fleshed R grades.
P and O grading bulls are being bought at €5.00/kg to 5.10/kg and €5.10/kg to €5.20/kg respectively.
Bulls under 16 months old are being bought at €5.20/kg to €5.30/kg (the base price on the grid).
The number of young bulls that are being killed continues to be low, with 2,038 young bulls killed last week.
P3 cows are working off €4.60/kg, with O grading cows coming in at €4.70/kg to €4.80/kg.
R grading cows are generally being quoted at €4.90/kg to €5.00/kg, with U grading cows now moving at €5.10/kg to €5.20/kg.
Last week’s kill came in at 30,349 head of cattle, an increase of just over 500 cattle on the previous week.
That week had St Patrick’s Day in it, so it shows that most factories are working at way under capacity at the moment and only opening a few days a week to stretch supplies.
Last week’s cow kill came in at 7,304, an increase of over 500 cows on the week before. So far in 2023, the cow kill is 4,563 head higher when compared with the same period in 2022, driven by huge manufacturing beef demand.
The bullock and heifer kill remained relatively unchanged on last week.
Across the water in Britain, prices have also risen on the back of increased demand and tightening supplies.
R4L heifers are being quoted above £5/kg (€6/kg incl VAT) to larger finishers, with a top price of £4.95 (€5.95/kg incl VAT) being paid for young bulls in the UK this week.
Finished cattle remain in very tight supply all across the UK.
Farmers are on the front foot when selling cattle in NI, as numbers remain extremely tight.
While quotes are unchanged at 470p/kg (€5.62/kg inc VAT) for U-3 grading animals, price deals are well ahead on 492p to 494p/kg (€5.89 to €5.92/kg) for good-quality steers and heifers.
Higher prices are being paid to regular finishers handling bigger numbers. Cull cows are on a quote of 390p/kg (€4.67/kg) for R3 animals, but deals open around 410p/kg (€4.91/kg).