There has been a further slight tightening in the returns to cattle farmers from the beef factories this week.
Although the factory quotes for stock for the week are unchanged, processors have further tightened the reins on top-ups which had been worth a few cent per kg — leaving farmers selling fat cattle taking 20-24 cents/kg less than they got at the end of June and in early July.
The price adjustment effected by the factories has knocked €70 to €80/head off fat cattle prices — and holding on in hopes of a price recovery becomes less of an option, due to the effects on most farms of a continuing difficult weather situation.
Prices being quoted for steers remain at a base of 395-400 cent/kg (141p-143p/lb), and generally factory agents are under direction to get stock as close as possible to 400 cent/kg.
Quoted heifer prices are staying at a 10 cent/kg premium over steers, having been 15 cent more earlier in the season, but the top-up in actual prices paid for heifers is as much as 5 cent/kg higher than for the steers.
There was an increase in the intake at the factories for last week, with the kill bordering on 25,000 head, and a slight reduction in the average prices paid for both steers and heifers.
The higher supply is obviously being influence by the weather.
Lower supply in the UK is keeping the beef trade there steady, with supplies matching a weakening in demand, which is particularly evident in the trade for the manufacturing beef.
Prices for R4L grade steers eased during the past week to the equivalent of 468 cent/kg (167p/lb).
On the Continent, the trade across most of the key markets is reported to be stable, with the demand being evenly matched by existing supplies.
The cow prices are just about steady, ranging from 330 to 360 cent/kg (118p-128p/lb) base price for O/P grade cows.
The heavier carcases making R grade are ranging from 350 to 375 cent/kg (125p-134p/lb).
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