It’s been a while since rain has been so welcome on Irish farms, especially in the south of the country.

Heavy rain on Saturday, followed by a showery forecast, will take off some of the pressure that was on grass supply on cattle farms and will also reduce the pressure to sell in the next few weeks.

Quotes remain very steady and unchanged from last week, with the majority of bullocks moving at €4.80/kg to €4.85/kg.

Heifer quotes also remain unchanged, with quotes generally ranging from €4.85/kg to €4.90/kg.

There are reports of prime cattle supplies getting a little tighter in the coming weeks and procurement managers have been actively looking ahead in the last few weeks lining up supplies.

Cow prices

R and U grading cows range in price from €4.80/kg to €4.90/kg.

O grading cows are back at €4.60/kg to €4.70/kg, while there is a wide range in what is being quoted for P grading cows, with anything from €4.30/kg to €4.50/kg being quoted depending on weight and flesh cover.

The manufacturing trade is still performing very strongly and this continues to drive the cow trade.

Bull trade

The bull trade is also steady, with €4.80/kg being paid for under-24-month bulls.

Some specialised bull finishers have been able to squeeze €4.95/kg for bulls this week, with O grading bulls working off €4.60/kg to €4.70/kg.

Bigger finishers have also been able to hammer out deals at €5/kg for U grading bulls.

Black and white P grading dairy bulls are being quoted at €4.50/kg to €4.55/kg.

Kill figures

Last week’s kill came in at 35,800 head, with the cow kill making up 6,500 of these.

The cow kill has been bobbing around 6,000 to 6,500 head for the last four weeks, but it’s expected to grow more in the coming weeks, as dairy farmers choose to offload more cows in the face of a reduced fodder supply, especially in areas which have been hit by lower grass growth in recent weeks.

Before the current drought, the thought was that dairy farmers would milk on cows well into autumn to cash in on a high milk price.

However, many are now looking at winter fodder supplies and choosing to offload earlier.

The likely impact that these cows will have on tonnage of beef output will be small, as weight flesh cover will likely be low.

British trade

Across the water in Britain, the beef trade remains very stable, with R4L heifers working off £4.40/kg to £4.50/kg (€5.40 to €5.52 incl VAT).

According to the AHDB, for the year to date, total estimated British prime cattle slaughter is back 3% on the same period in 2021 and 4% below the five-year average.