Although the supply of stock to the factories has continued to increase, there is a slightly sharper edge to the trade this week.
While quoted prices are unchanged for the third consecutive week, some farmers are negotiating improved prices before parting with stock this week, with gains of 1-3 cents/kg generally achieved.
Base prices for steers are being quoted at 385 to 390 cent/kg (137p-139p/lb), with heifer prices on offer ranging 10-15 cent higher.
For the quality assured cattle, there is the bonus of 6 cent/kg to be added, but as the season moves on, more of the supply, particularly the steers, are edging over 30 months and being penalised at 6 cent/kg, in the QPS.
Some choice lots of steers with quality assurance are making close to 400 cent/kg this week, but the overall average base price for steers increased by 1 c/kg last week to 391 cent, with the mix of bonus and penalties included.
Processors are telling farmers that prices are up to 10% higher than this time in 2011, but that is no consolation to farmers who bought in forward stores for up to €300 more than last year, who are paying higher production costs, and seen their cattle performing poorly due to the bad weather.
As expected for mid-September, the beef cattle intake increased last week, rising to 29,330 head, one of the highest intakes for the year, but behind the 33,244 head in the same week last year.
Supply this week is expected to be at much the same level, but could come under pressure next week when farmers take time out for the Ploughing Championships.
The real challenge for finishers will be to hold prices over the next six weeks, the usual peak period for supply, with processors very anxious to lower the cost of beef at the first opportunity.
At the factories, the cow prices are unchanged. Base prices on offer for O/P grade cows are 300-340 cent/kg, and up to 355 cent/kg for the quality, heavier carcases this week.
In the UK, the beef trade last week was reported to have held similar to previous weeks, with tight supply continuing to match demand levels. Prices remained relatively stable, with R4L grade steers averaging equivalent to 472 cent/kg last week (including VAT).
On the Continent, Bord Bia reports that the trade across some of the key markets was mixed.
Back to News Headlines