An east-west divide remains in the beef trade this week, with most eastern- and southern-based factories ahead by 5c/kg on Monday’s quotes
Bullocks continue to be quoted at €4.65/kg, with bigger suppliers and those dealing with numbers still able to get a €4.70/kg base price.
Heifers have also started off where they left off last week, with the general run working off a €4.70/kg base price.
Angus and Hereford cattle are still in high demand, with up to 30c/kg bonuses being paid for in-spec Aberdeen Angus bullocks and heifers this week.
There are still reports of under-fleshed cattle being slaughtered in factories, with some farmers losing out on their in-spec bonus for not meeting the required fat score.
With prices of finishing concentrates heading up to €400-€420/t, some finishers have opted to delay feeding at grass and more are feeding a reduced rate due to price increases.
This, coupled with the drought in the south of the country, has meant cattle that would have traditionally been targeted for September and October finishing are more backward than other years and in some cases these cattle may be better to come in for a short sharp finish where flesh cover is lacking.
This will be especially applicable if the weather turns wet in the next week and meal feeding becomes more difficult around troughs
Industry sources suggest the current pressure on price is to try and cool the store trade, which has been going very well over the last six weeks. However, the pressure on beef quotes hasn’t had the desired effect, with the mart trade still holding very firm for good-quality store bullocks and heifers.
This has seen one of the major factories choose to delay buying for their feedlots. They had been scheduled to start last week but have delayed the start of purchasing for another few weeks.
Bulls are being quoted at €4.70/kg to €4.80/kg for R and U grades, with a few regular, bigger suppliers still squeezing €4.90/kg for U grading bulls.
Under-16-month bulls are working off a base of €4.75 to €4.80/kg although numbers are relatively small at this time of year
Friesian bulls are being quoted at €4.50/kg to €4.60/kg, depending on weight and flesh cover. Under-16-month bulls are generally working off a base of €4.80/kg.
Cows continue to be the highlight of the trade, with U grading cows coming in at €4.80/kg to €4.90/kg.
R grading cows are being quoted at €4.60/kg to €4.70/kg. However, those with numbers have been able to strike deals 5c to 10c/kg higher than the official quoted prices.
Bord Bia market tracker
The Bord Bia Irish prime composite price for the week ending 24 September was €4.90/kg, while the prime export benchmark price was €5.20/kg for the same week.
This represents a 30c gap or €105/head on a 350kg carcase.
Across the EU, young bull prices have remained pretty steady in recent weeks, with R3 young bulls at €5.25/kg.
This is 35c ahead of an R grading Irish young bull or €140/head on a 400kg carcase.