Beef prices at the factories have been reduced for the second consecutive week, compounding farmers’ weather related problems.
Prices quoted by the processors for this week have been reduced by a further 10-15 cent/kg, despite the factory intake remaining low across the country.
Prices for finished cattle have now dropped by €60-80 head in two week.
There has been an increase in the number of light and unfinished stock being supplied to the factories.
The €4/kg benchmark for steers has been breached this week, with some processors cutting back to 390 cent/kg (139p/lb), and base quotes in general ranging from 390 to 400 cent.
Prices actually being paid for steers are generally in the 400-405 cent/kg range, but there is a determined bid by processors to get the cost of steers below €4.
Heifer prices are staying 10 cent/kg ahead of steer prices, both quoted and actually paid.
Intake for last week reduced slightly lower to about 23,400 head, compared to 27,000 for the same week in 2011.
Last week, the intake of steers was increased, at around 8,000.
It was inevitable that processors would strive to reduce prices by mid July, but the scale of the cuts over the past two weeks has been far more severe than anticipated, leaving farmers accusing processors of taking advantage of the weather to slash prices.
If the weather improves over the week-end, as forecast, it will be harder for processors to secure cattle at lower prices, which could bring some recovery in prices.
The weaker demand for manufacturing beef is reflected in prices for cows.
Quotes for this week have slipped to 330-350 cent/kg (118p-125p/lb) for O/P grades.
The quality R grade cows are making up to 360 cent.
The cattle trade in the UK is reported to be flat, with market demand described as subdued.
The latest Kantar figures show that beef purchases in the latest four-week period fell by almost 6%, which indicates consumer reaction to higher prices.
Prices for R4L grade steers were averaging equivalent to 469 cent/kg (167p/lb).
On the Continent, some markets have promotions going on to stimulate demand.
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