Beef factories are using the short week to apply some pressure to the trade.

Some have attempted to pull quotes by 5c/kg, while more are threatening to pull by the end of the week.

Factories are generally quoting €5.10/kg to €5.15/kg for bullocks, with some holding very hard to €5.10/kg this week.

Heifers are working off €5.15/kg to €5.20/kg, with more heifers being bought at €5.15/kg this week.

The factory move to apply pressure to the trade is a hammer blow to winter finishers who had hoped that quotes would increase once we entered May.

Tightening of supplies

There is a thought that supplies will begin to tighten as we move through May and beyond. However, last year, quotes started to dip around the middle of May and continued to fall until the middle of August.

While numbers of cattle available for slaughter would suggest that the same thing won’t happen in 2024, farmers are worried that factories will get a grip on the trade and continue to apply pressure over the next few weeks.

Under-24-month bulls are working off €5.30/kg to €5.40/kg for U grading bulls. R grading bulls are being quoted at €5.20/kg to €5.30/kg.

O grading bulls are being quoted at €5.10/kg to €5.20/kg, while P grading bulls are being bought at €5.00/kg in some factories this week and this depends on weight and fat score of these poorer-quality black and white bulls.

Under-16-month bulls are working off a €5.15/kg base price. This is before the 12c/kg in-spec bonus is applied, along with any grading bonuses or penalties.

Cow trade

Cows continue to be the highlight of the trade, with €5.00/kg to €5.10/kg on the table in some outlets for well-fleshed U grading cows.

No pressure has been applied to the cow trade as of yet, as manufacturing markets continue to be very strong.

R grading cows are working off €4.70/kg to €4.80/kg in the main, with O grading suckler cows coming in at €4.60/kg, while O grading dairy cows are being bought at €4.40/kg to €4.50/kg.

P+3 cows are being bought at €4.30/kg in some plants.