Beef trade: Brexit uncertainty prevents price rise

As the total number of processed cattle for last week amounted to 35,702 head, some factories seem to be in limbo on the numbers they are planning to kill in the coming weeks.

The uncertainty continues, with further halts in the negotiations of a Brexit trade deal – however, the imposing of high tariffs on Irish beef exports to the UK is becoming an increasing reality at this stage.

Processors are keeping this in mind, as some plants are continuing to race ahead with kills in order to export additional consignments before the December 31 deadline.

The hopes of price increases in the coming weeks seems to be dwindling somewhat – with heifers still trading at €3.75/kg to €3.80/kg. Steers are also holding off on a rise, as €3.70/kg up to €3.75/kg is continuing to be offered. 

In the bull trade, under-24-month old males are being quoted at €3.80/kg back to €3.70/kg in some plants for U-grades. Meanwhile, the R-grades are generally being offered €3.70/kg. O-grades are priced around the €3.60/kg to €3.50/kg mark this week.

The younger under-16-month-old bulls continue to average around a price of €3.65/kg on the grid.

Cows are still holding their price this week, with the generally quotes offered for U-grades are ranging from €3.30/kg to €3.40/kg.

R-grades are still able to command €3.30/kg in some plants. Lesser quality P-grades are receiving €2.90/kg, as O-grades reach €3.10/kg back to €3.00/kg.

Brendan Golden

Northern trade

The trade remains steady this week in Northern Ireland. Although, similar to the south, there is no further price increase for prime cattle or cows.

From reports received, prime U-grading cattle are achieving quotes (including bonus) mostly from £3.60 to £3.68/kg (€3.99-4.08/kg) – according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).

R-grades are reaching highs of £3.62/kg (€4.01/kg) back to £3.56/kg, with O-grades selling at £3.44/kg (€3.81/kg) rising to £3.56/kg (€3.94/kg) in some plants.

In the cow trade, O+3 grades or better are receiving quotes from £2.40/kg to £2.65/kg (€2.66-2.93/kg).

Last week, steers reaching an R+3 grade were averaging at £3.74/kg (€4.14/kg), while heifers with a similar grade sold at £3.76/kg (€4.16/kg).

The total throughput of cattle processed was tallying at 6,892 head last week, which was a rise of 285 head from the previous week. Cows were slightly back in terms of numbers by 381 head, as 2,120 head of the aged females were slaughtered.

Approximately 229 head of prime cattle and 69 head of cows were imported to the north from the south for direct slaughter last week.

There were very low levels exported to the south for slaughter as only seven prime cattle and 96 head of cows crossed the border.