Beef quotes continue to creep up slowly, particularly in the northern half of the country.
One factory in the northwest moved to €4.40/kg for bullocks and €4.45/kg for heifers last weekend to secure this week’s kill.
Cattle are particularly scarce in the northern half of the country, with most processors having to increase quotes in the last few days in order to get cattle.
Across the country, quotes for heifers have moved up to €4.25/kg, with €4.30/kg being paid to a few big suppliers to secure supplies.
Bullocks have also kicked on, with €4.20/kg now easily achievable and some reports of €4.25/kg being paid to those with numbers.
Hereford and Aberdeen Angus cattle remain in big demand, with bonuses of between 10c and 25c/kg being paid for in-spec stock.
Factories have continued to ramp up throughput as much as they can over the last week and into this week, with fears of another lockdown driving demand both here and across the water.
The bull trade is also a little livelier this week, with young under-16-month bulls at €4.20/kg to €4.25/kg base price in most factories.
Under-24-month bulls are generally working off €4.20/kg for R grades and €4.30/kg to €4.35/kg for U grades.
The cow trade has also seen some improvement over the last couple of days, despite a big kill of cows last week.
P+3 cows are working off €3.50/kg, with heavier P grading cows coming into 340kg to 350kg carcase weight managing €3.60/kg.
O grading Friesian cows are coming in at €3.55/kg, while O grading suckler cows are able to squeeze €3.65/kg out of the market.
R grading cows continue to trade off €3.80/kg to €3.85/kg, while good-quality U grading cows are still capable of getting €4.00/kg and more.
Last week’s kill dropped again this time by just over 100 head to 35,534. There were just over 800 fewer heifers killed last week, while all other categories of stock remained similar to the week before. A further tightening in numbers is expected in this week’s kill.
IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden said: “Since the beginning of October, the prime export benchmark price has increased by 12c/kg to its current levels.
“Over the same period, factories have held prices stagnant, which is completely unjustified in the current market. Factories must come forward with prices that reflect the reality of the market place and increased production costs as beef farmers experience unsustainable input price inflation.”
Across the water, the British beef price has kicked on again, with an R4L bullock coming in at £424.1p/kg (€5.33/kg incl VAT).
An R3 bullock killed in Ireland this week killing out at 350kg carcase weight would come into €1,540. The same bullock killed in England last week would come into €1,866, some €326 ahead of the Irish price.
On a lorry load of 20 bullocks, that comes into over €6,500 of a difference.
Across Europe, beef prices have also increased in recent weeks, with the Irish price now lagging well behind many of our most important European export destinations. R3 heifers in Poland are heading for €4.70/kg this week, while the Irish price sits at €4.45/kg.
The Irish price had been tracking ahead of the EU price for much of the autumn, but, in recent weeks, it has fallen behind. For more, see agribusiness insight here.
Base price is unchanged for prime cattle at 394p/kg (€4.89/kg inc VAT). There is more life in the trade with deals of 406p to 410p/kg (€5.03 to €5.08/kg) available. Cull cows are holding firm, with younger animals on 320p/kg (€3.97/kg).