There was a €225/head price gap for R3 grading cows between the best and worst paying factories in 2023, exclusive Irish Farmers Journal analysis has found.

The price difference between factories for cows has increased by almost €100/head on the 2022 analysis.

For bullocks, there was up to €182/head in the difference for O3 grading cattle between the top and bottom paying factories, with the smallest price spread showing a €71/head gap for R3 bullocks.

There was a price gap of up to €166/head for P3 grading heifers, while young bull prices differed by up to €113/head for R3 bulls depending on the factory of choice.

Smaller independent factories paid the best prices for cows in 2023, while ABP, Dawn and Kepak dominated the top positions in buying prime beef cattle.

Cattle supplies

Bord Bia has forecast that supplies of finished cattle are to fall by up to 40,000 head in 2024. This comes off the back of a 39,000 head decrease in 2023.

This, coupled with a 1.6% fall in beef production across the EU, should help to bolster Irish beef prices in 2024.

The Irish Farmers Journal factory league analysis calculates the annual performance of each factory across four grades for bullocks, heifers, young bulls and cows.