Factories have moved to apply some pressure to the beef trade this week, with some factories trying to quote lower prices compared with last week.

While they are quoting lower prices, almost none are getting away with actually paying any less, with most factories standing on at last week’s prices.

Winter finishers are coming into some of the dearest cattle produced, with high store prices and high feed prices leaving a breakeven price of north of €6/kg needed.

Factories have seen their opportunity with a big cow kill to apply the pressure, but, ironically, cow quotes have held pretty stable, with prime cattle being the target to get back in price.

Most factories are quoting bullocks at €5.10/kg to €5.15/kg, while heifers are working off €5.15/kg to €5.20/kg.


Flat prices of as high as €5.60/kg are still on the table for Aberdeen Angus heifers, with nearly all factories now paying a 25c/kg bonus on Aberdeen Angus animals and 20c/kg for Hereford animals, provided they meet the minimum specifications for the relevant schemes.

The young bull trade also remains steady, with €5.50/kg on the table for U grading young bulls in some of the factories specialising in bulls.

R grading bulls are moving at €5.30/kg to €5.40/kg, while O and P grading bulls are being paid out 5c to 10c/kg less.

Fat cover and weight are big determinants on price when it comes to bull quotes.

Under-16-month bulls are generally working off €5.15/kg to €5.25/kg base price, with the 12c/kg in-spec bonus being added in along with grading for the final price.

Cull cows

Cull cows also remain a very solid trade, despite the increased number of cows coming on the market in recent weeks.

U grading suckler cows are still at the top of the market, with €4.70/kg to €4.80/kg being paid for good-quality young well-fleshed cows this week.

R grading cows are working off €4.40/kg to €4.60/kg, with O grading suckler cows are coming in at €4.30/kg, while P grading are working off €3.90/kg to €4.00/kg, depending on weight and flesh cover.