Factories are coming in for some severe criticism over their attempts to undermine finishers and further reduce quotes this week.

Finishers are extremely frustrated at the current round of cuts being applied to finished cattle at a time when shed cattle continue to come on stream as a result of the tough spring endured on beef finishing farms.

Many smaller finishers opted to continue to feed cattle indoors due to difficult weather conditions.

This has brought forward the killing date for many of these cattle, as, if they had been turned out, they would have come in for finish around June or July.

This has placed an increased amount of power at processors' feet and they have moved accordingly to take prices back over the last three weeks.


Heifers have come back from a high of €5.30/kg four weeks ago to €5.10/kg being quoted in a lot of factories on Monday morning.

The bullock price has also had a 5c/kg cut, with most plants reverting to €5.05/kg for this week’s kill.

There is more going, with 5c to 10c/kg extra on offer to those with numbers and regular customers.

Last week’s kill in Britain dropped 700 head and the current indication is that this will slip more in the coming weeks.

Industry insiders are pointing to European demand as to where the problem lies, but, in general, kills are back across Europe.

Italy in particular has seen a big drop off in cattle supplies, with the kill already back 13% in 2023.

Back home, Bord Bia is forecasting a reduction in the 2024 kill, but numbers so far have gone the other way and are up by over 30,000 head so far in 2024.

The reduction - if it comes - could have a huge impact on supplies for the second half of 2024.

Bull trade

Under-24-month bulls continue to work off €5.30/kg to €5.35/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 €5.00/kg to €5.10/kg, while P grading bulls are still being bought at €4.90/kg to €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 €5.05/kg to €5.10/kg base price. This is before the 12c/kg in-spec bonus is applied, along with any grading bonuses or penalties.

The bull trade remains steady, with a few more under-16-month bulls coming out in the last week.

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 locations.