Beef factories are trying to dig in on beef quotes this week, with varying levels of success.
Some have reduced quotes by 5c/kg for bullocks and heifers. Others have tried to reduce quotes by 10c/kg, but farmers have been reluctant to sell where lower quotes have been given.
Many are working off the same quotes as last week, but signalling a reduced quote for next week. Bullocks are working off €5.20/kg to €5.30/kg, with heifers working off €5.30/kg to €5.35/kg this week.
Those with numbers are still able to command a better deal, with extras such as haulage and no weight limits being thrown into deals. Aberdeen Angus bonuses remain at 30c/kg for in-spec stock.
Finished cattle remain in short supply, with nearly all shed cattle slaughtered at this stage.
Grass cattle haven’t appeared yet, with many agents signalling the beginning of July before any numbers of grass cattle start to appear.
A lot of feedlot cattle and contracted cattle are being killed at the moment, leaving less pressure on agents to fill loads.
More bulls are coming on the market, with the kill of bulls up in the last few weeks. Spring-born under-16-month bulls will be marketed in the next six weeks.
Under-16-month bulls are generally trading around €5.25/kg to €5.35/kg. U grading under-24-month bulls are now at €5.50/kg to €5.60/kg in a couple of factories.
Under-24-month R grading bulls are working off €5.30/kg to €5.40/kg, depending on flesh cover. Deals are being done at €5.40/kg to €5.50/kg for mixes of Rs and Us.
O grading black and white bulls have been sold at €5.20/kg to €5.30/kg this week.
U grading cows are being quoted at €5.00/kg to €5.10/kg, with those with high numbers of good cows able to squeeze a little more out of the market.
Wholesalers are the best payers at the moment, with some giving 10c to 20c/kg more for top-end cows compared with some of the mainstream factories.
These smaller factories have also injected serious competition into the mart trade.
R grading cows are trading for as high as €4.90/kg to €5.00/kg, with good O grading cows coming in at €4.80/kg to €4.85/kg.
Well-fleshed P+3 cows are being quoted at €4.70/kg, but flat deals are available to those with higher numbers.
There is some pressure appearing on EU beef markets, with a number of markets showing a 5c to 10c/kg correction in the last week.
Looking at the Bord Bia beef market tracker this week, it shows the prime composite Irish beef price at €5.30/kg, 29c/kg ahead of the prime composite EU beef price of €5.01/kg.
Looking back at the market situation on 7 May, the Irish price stood at €4.92/kg, while the EU composite price stood at €5.11/kg.
Across the water in the UK, the beef trade remains steady, with little change in the last week.
R4L heifers rose 1.5p/kg to £4.50/kg (€5.60/kg incl VAT). Cows were the only category of stock to show a slight dis-improvement last week, with quotes back by 1.6p/kg.