Prime cattle supplies look set to continue to get tighter in the coming weeks, with factory agents reporting a contraction in numbers of animals coming fit in the next four to six weeks.

Beef quotes remain very steady this week, with €4.15-€4.20/kg paid for bullocks and €4.20-€4.25/kg on the table for heifers. Breed bonuses have also improved in some factories in recent weeks, with 15-20c/kg being paid on suitable in-spec Aberdeen Angus and Hereford stock.

Big numbers continue to move North for slaughter on a weekly basis. There were 1,644 head of cattle exported for the week ending 22 August, most of which were finished cattle. Factory agents remain active around southern mart rings buying both finished and forward store animals.

AHDB reported that the weekly kill in Britain is back as much as 14% in August. Previous estimates have put the predicted 2021 kill 5% lower than 2020. Imports of Irish beef increased by 4% in June compared to June 2020 with the price of these imports 15% higher when compared with June 2020 prices. Prices in Britain have continued to improve, with R4L steers trading at an average price of 419p/kg (€5.15/kg incl VAT).