Factories have pulled beef quotes again this week, with almost all factories now working off a €4.90/kg base price for bullocks and a €5/kg base price for heifers.

This is a drop of between 5c and 10c/kg on last week’s quote and means it’s the third week in a row where factories have opted to reduce quotes ahead of the week's kill.

Prime cattle have seen almost 50c/kg wiped off their value in the last four weeks - the equivalent of €175/head on a 350kg carcase.

Farmers are being advised to get clear visibility of weight limits and other in-spec requirements, as some factories have moved back to weight limits.

Range in bull quotes

There is a wide range in bull quotes, with some factories trying to buy under-16-month bulls on Monday morning at €4.90/kg, with others quoting €5.00/kg on the grid.

U grading under-24-month bulls are being quoted from €5.00/kg to €5.10/kg, with R grading bulls coming in at €4.90/kg to €5.00/kg.

Cow prices

Cows are also working off a variety of quotes, depending on who you are, who you are dealing with and what numbers you have.

Factories have pulled quotes back to €4.80/kg for R grading cows, €4.60/kg for O grading cows and €4.40/kg for P grading cows.

Specialist producers and those dealing with numbers are still working off 10c to 20c/kg more than these quotes.

The mart trade for heavy cows is still very strong, with factory agents continuing to be very active around rings.

Revised kill figure from Bord Bia

Bord Bia has revised its figure for where the kill will end up at for 2022.

It had previously estimated that the national kill would be up around 80,000 head, but a combination of more dairy-bred cattle finishing earlier and an increased cow kill, it now estimates that the national kill will rise by around 110,000 head in 2022.

This may also change depending on how finishers react to increased input costs and it could mean more farmers will push cattle harder at grass to avoid the expensive winter finishing period.

Bord Bia has also said that accelerating inflation across Europe has had a visible effect on beef sales.

In Britain, Kantar beef retail figures to 17 April 2022 show consumer price rises of 6.2% and sales decline of 13.8% when compared with 2021 figures. Germany and France have also seen retail sales declines of 17% and 12%.

The cost of living squeeze on consumers is affecting shopping habits, with many opting for cheaper cuts to stay within the weekly household budget.