Factories had varying levels of success in imposing price reductions of 5c/kg to 10c/kg last week.

Producers with strong negotiating power held firm in negotiations and with agents keen to secure supplies, many deals were completed at the previous week’s level, with price cuts waived.

Agents regrouped towards the end of last week and over the weekend and are trying to instil a reduction in price of 5c/kg to 10c/kg.

Base quotes

Base beef quotes are opening at €5.20/kg for steers and €5.30/kg for heifers in the main.

There are still producers securing 5c/kg higher, but reports from Monday indicate that factories are slower to agree to this for cattle traded as the week progresses.

Some agents have said the upturn in weather could marginally limit supplies, with some producers drafting cattle off grass turning their attentions to field work.

This could have an influence on the trade, as supplies of shed-finished cattle continue their seasonal reduction.

Cow trade

The trade for cows remains solid, despite talk of negative price pressure. The general run of quotes for U, R and O grading cows is €5/kg, €4.90/kg and €4.80/kg respectively.

There are variations either side of these prices, with heavy U and R grading cows and young cows continuing to secure a premium on price, with buyers specialising in the wholesale trade remaining keen.

Producers struggling to negotiate with factories would be well served in weighing up the live route to market, with mart sales continuing to record a fine trade for cows.

Live exports

The latest live export figures for the week ending 4 June 2022 show the number of cattle exported live in the year to date recorded at 392,008, an increase of 45,254 head on the corresponding period in 2021.

The increase in exports is being underpinned by 56,288 more calves leaving the country, with total live exports surpassing the 300,000 head mark and recorded at some 392,008.

This has compensated, to a point, for a significant reduction in live exports of finished cattle, with the 33,392 head exported to date in 2022 representing a reduction of 10,512 on 2021 levels.

This has been driven by a sharp falloff in exports to Northern Ireland, with 40,808 head crossing the border compared with 73,540 for the corresponding period in 2021.

Exports of weanlings, at 21,464 head, are running 2,338 lower, while live exports of stores are 2,860 head lower at a total of 28,010.