This week’s beef trade is in a steady position, with no movement either up or down in quotes from last week.

Factory threats at the end of last week of going to a €4.70/kg base for bullocks have failed to materialise and factories have had no choice but to stand on at last week’s quotes of €4.80/kg as base price for bullocks and €4.90/kg base price for heifers.

Some factories have tried to quote €4.85/kg for heifers, but are meeting resistance at that price and the majority of heifers are trading at €4.90/kg.

The majority of bullocks are also moving at €4.80/kg, with a few larger operators being able to squeeze €4.85/kg where heifers are involved in the same load.

Foyle Meats, Donegal, is quoting €4.90/kg for bullocks and €4.95/kg for heifers when the 10c/kg bonus is included for animals killing out between 300kg and 400kg carcase weight.

Bonuses for Aberdeen Angus are ranging from 15c to 20c/kg, with the Hereford bonuses coming in at 10c/kg.

Bull prices

There is still a wide range in bull quotes. Under-16-month bulls are thin on the ground, with the majority of spring-born bulls killed at this stage.

Quotes are generally running at €4.80/kg base.

Those with bigger numbers have been able to squeeze a little more out of the market.

U grading under-24-month bulls are being quoted from €4.95/kg to €5.00/kg, with R grading bulls coming in at €4.85/kg to €4.90/kg.

Cow prices

Some factories are very hungry for cows, while others are concentrating more on prime cattle.

Buyers specialising in the wholesale market have also increased activity in the last weeks, with top-quality cows up in marts over the last seven days.

Quotes this week are running at €4.80/kg for R grading cows, €4.60/kg for O grading cows and €4.30/kg to €4.45/kg for P grading cows.

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

Last week’s kill came in at 33,766, a rise of just over 700 on the week before.

The biggest rise came in the bullock category, with just under 1,000 extra bullocks killed last week, with all other categories staying pretty stable.

According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the UK imported 19,700t of fresh and frozen beef in May, 13% (2,300t) more compared with May 2021.

The majority of the increase in imports came from Ireland.

For the year to date (January to May), beef imports reached 98,100t, up 22% (17,800t) from the same period a year ago.

The increase has largely been in boneless beef. The average price of these shipments for January to May 2022 was up 20% from the year before.

Prices across the water are pretty stable as well, with R4L heifers coming in at the equivalent of €5.55/kg this week.

Further afield, European markets have also steadied, with good demand reported from both the manufacturing trade and retail trade in the last month.

Bord Bia has reported that the average European R3 young bull price for the week ending 16 July was at €5.16/kg.

NI comment

Base quotes are steady in Northern Ireland at 424p/kg (€5.26/kg inc VAT) for U-3 grading animals.

However, factories have managed to lower prices and are trying to cap steers and heifers at 442p to 446p/kg (€5.48 to €5.53/kg) with varying degrees of success.

Some finishers are reluctant to accept lower prices and offloading cattle live, while some processors are maintaining throughput with imports of slaughter-fit cattle from the Republic of Ireland.