Factories are continuing to exert pressure on the beef trade this week, with no let-up in the negative talk around beef prices.

Winter finishers are in for a nervous few weeks, as factories look to cut quotes for the second week running.

The cuts come as winter finishers enter into the most expensive period of the winter finishing period, with cattle having been on finishing diets for a number of months.

Foyle Meats in Donegal has dropped its quotes another 5c/kg this week on top of a 5c/kg cut the previous week. Its base price for bullocks now stands at €5.15/kg for bullocks killing out between 300kg and 400kg and €5.20/kg for heifers killing out between 300kg and 400kg carcase weight.

The general run of quotes for bullocks is €5.05/kg to €5.10/kg base price, while heifers are working off €5.10/kg to €5.15/kg.

Bull trade

The young bull trade remains pretty steady, with €5.40/kg on the table for U grading young bulls in some of the factories specialising in bulls.

R grading bulls are moving at €5.20/kg to €5.30/kg, while O and P grading bulls are being paid out at 10c to 20c/kg less.

Under-16-month bulls are generally working off €5.10/kg to €5.15/kg base price, with the 12c/kg in-spec bonus being added in along with grading for the final price.

Cull cows

Cull cows also remain a very solid trade, despite the increased number of cows coming on the market in recent weeks.

U grading suckler cows are still at the top of the market, with €4.70/kg to €4.80/kg being paid for good-quality young well-fleshed cows this week.

R grading cows are working off €4.30/kg to €4.50/kg, with O grading suckler cows coming in at €4.20/kg, while P grading are working off €3.90/kg to €4.00/kg, depending on weight and flesh cover

Irish Farmers' Association national livestock chair Declan Hanrahan moved to criticise factories and their negative messaging this week.

He said: “The UK beef price continues to increase week on week and is now 60c/kg above our price, while across the EU, prices continue in a steady upward trajectory, creating strong demand for Irish beef and ensuring the Bord Bia prime export benchmark price is rising faster than our beef prices.


“Projections for the year are for increased demand for beef in the UK market, with consumption levels predicted to grow, providing further opportunities for Irish beef to continue to build on the increased volumes which went to this key market in 2023.”

Based on Bord Bia projections, there will be over 30,000 fewer finished cattle available to factories in the coming months and with strong growth projected in live exports, this deficit could grow.

Declan Hanrahan said: “Factories trying to dampen expectation on beef prices shows no regard for beef farmers who have made substantial investments in finishing cattle over the winter period and is unacceptable.”