There is a wide range in beef quotes this week. Some factories have maintained prices at last week’s quotes, with €5.15/kg still available for bullocks and €5.20/kg available for heifers.

Other factories have pulled quotes by 5c/kg and are paying out €5.10/kg for bullocks and €5.15/kg for heifers.

Speaking to agents on the ground, there still appears to be numbers of shed-finished cattle coming out.

This is as a result of some farmers not turning out cattle in the spring and opting for an early summer finish instead.

This should point to a better back end for finishers, but that’s not a lot of good to a dear store eating 8kg of meal a day for the last three months.

Factories are using the opportunity of higher numbers than expected to apply pressure to the price.

Some think that this is in advance of a tightness in supplies coming, where prices will have to go up. There’s also the myriad of schemes and bonuses to keep track of.

There is currently around 20c/kg on offer from some factories for their club participation on top of the in-spec bonus of 20c/kg.

These clubs have complicated pricing, with some suggesting that the ordinary farmer is being used as the pawn in delivering bonuses to clubs.

Someone has to pay for the increased price in these clubs and, at the moment, it’s the small finisher operating independently of these clubs.


Under-24-month bulls continue to work off €5.30/kg to €5.40/kg for U grading bulls. R grading bulls are being quoted at €5.20/kg to €5.30/kg.

O grading bulls are being quoted at €5.10/kg to €5.20/kg, while P grading bulls are still being bought at €5.00/kg in some factories this week and this depends on weight and fat score of these poorer-quality black and white bulls.

Under-16-month bulls are working off a €5.15/kg base price. This is before the 12c/kg in-spec bonus is applied, along with any grading bonuses or penalties.

The bull trade remains steady, with a few more under-16-month bulls coming out in the last week.

Cow trade

Cows continue to be the highlight of the trade, with €5.00/kg to €5.10/kg on the table in some outlets for well-fleshed U grading cows.

No pressure has been applied to the cow trade as of yet, as manufacturing markets continue to be very strong.

The European football championships, which take place in Germany, kick off on Friday 14 June and factories are already planning for a lift in demand for manufacturing beef for the month they take place.

R grading cows are working off €4.70/kg to €4.80/kg in the main, with O grading suckler cows coming in at €4.60/kg, while O grading dairy cows are being bought at €4.40/kg to €4.50/kg. P+3 cows are being bought at €4.30/kg in some locations.

Last week’s kill came in at 32,492 head, a similar number to the previous week’s kill. The cow kill continues to reduce, with over 400 fewer cows killed last week. The bullock kill saw an increase of 700 head.

In the latest AHDB retail view of UK shopper insights, it has showed that volumes of beef sales for last 12 weeks covering the Easter period are slightly up.

The average price/kg was up 6.8%, with steaks seeing a stronger performance, up 5% in volume sold.

NI comment

Although base quotes are unchanged at 466p/kg (€5.71/kg inc VAT), the beef trade in Northern Ireland is slowly moving in the right direction.

Price deals are up 2p to 4p/kg, with the majority of steers and heifers moving at 486p to 488p/kg (€5.95 to €5.98/kg) and regular finishers on deals above 490p/kg (€6/kg).

Young bulls are on 484p/kg (€5.93/kg), with cows on 370p to 400p/kg (€4.53 to €4.90/kg).