The beef trade remains in a positive position this week, with all processors working off similar quotes to last week.

There are some reports of €5.25/kg being paid for larger loads of heifers, but, in the main, most factories are quoting €5.20/kg for heifers this week.

Bullocks are being quoted at €5.05/kg to €5.10/kg, also with reports of €5.15/kg being paid to secure larger loads of cattle.

Flat deals of as high as €5.60/kg are still on the table this week for Aberdeen Angus heifers. Most agents are now paying 20c/kg to 30c/kg bonus on Aberdeen Angus heifers, with 10c/kg to 15c/kg being paid for Hereford heifers.

The mart trade continues to outperform the factory trade in many instances, with factory agents willing to pay more to secure lots ringside as opposed to purchasing in yards for factories.

Young bulls

The top price in the young bull market is €5.30/kg for U grading bulls, with €5.10/kg on the table for R grading bulls.

O and P grading bulls are being bought at €4.80/kg to €4.90/kg. Under-16-month bulls are being bought at €5.05/kg to €5.15/kg.


P+3 cows are working off €4.20/kg to €4.30/kg, with O grading cows coming in at €4.40/kg to €4.50/kg.

R grading cows are generally being quoted at €4.60/kg to €4.70/kg, with U grading cows now moving to €4.80/kg to €4.90/kg.

Lots of deals are on the table to get good cows, with R grading cows being bought at U grading prices in some instances.

Meat marketing seminar

Speaking at last Friday’s Bord Bia meat marketing seminar held in Naas, Co Kildare, Bord Bia’s Mark Zieg outlined a very positive outlook for beef markets in 2023.

Looking back at 2022, sales into the UK were up 15%, while sales into mainland Europe were up 26%, driven by a 55% sales increase in Italy and a 42% increase in France.

The average Irish beef price in 2022 was €5.04/kg, up 18% on 2021. The average UK price was €5.39/kg, up 10% on 2021, while the average beef price in Europe was €5.23/kg.

National kill up

The 2022 national kill was up 7% to 1.82 million head. Within that, the prime kill was up 5% or 65,000 head, while the cow kill was up 14% or 59,000 head.

Commenting on the live export trade outlook, Mark said: “There was a real solid demand for calves, weanlings and store cattle right throughout 2022 and that is expected to continue into 2023.

"The longer-term outlook is challenging, with particular pressure on the young calf export trade,” he added.

Live exports finished up 16% in 2022 at 286,347 head exported.

Irish cattle availability is expected to remain very tight for much of 2023, with a 5% reduction of cattle available for slaughter expected in quarter one of 2023. This will drop to a 6% reduction in quarter two and then recover somewhat towards the end of the year.

The overall kill is expected to reduce by 3% to 4% in 2023 or 50,000 to 60,000 head.

Carcase weights saw a drop of 9kg or 2.6% in 2022 driven by more and more cattle being of dairy beef origin and being slaughtered at a younger age.

Overall, European beef production is expected to contract in 2023, with a 5.5% reduction expected between 2022 and 2027. European beef consumption is expected to decline by 1% in 2023.