Processors continue to apply pressure to the beef trade with quotes continuing their downward trajectory this week.

Bullocks are being quoted at €4.90/kg to €5/kg this week with heifers working off €4.95/kg to €5.05/kg, a reduction of between 5c/kg and 10c/kg on last week’s quotes.

Comparing quotes with the same week in 2022, quotes are back 35c/kg or close to €150/head on a 380kg carcase.

For farmers, the cost of producing this carcase remains similar to 2022. Industry sources have pointed to sluggish EU demand, cheaper South American imports and the Chinese market failing to fire in 2023 as reasons for the current slump in the trade.

The latest figures from Bord Bia show that R3 Irish bullocks are coming in at €5.42/kg including VAT. In terms of EU prices R3 young bulls are trading at €5.21/kg, 21c/kg behind the Irish price while the UK R3 bullock price is at €5.94/kg, 52c/kg ahead of the Irish price.

In France, R3 young bulls are at €5.55/kg while R grading young bulls in Germany are selling for €4.83/kg.

Trade deal

Staying in Europe, talks continue in Brussels on signing the controversial Mercosur trade deal which will allow South American countries tariff-free access to the European market for 99,000t of beef once ratified.

Bilateral meetings took place between the European Commission and Brazil last week. France is one of the most exercised European countries against the deal and this week the French national assembly voted to ratify the rejection of the Mercosur trade deal citing health and environmental concerns.