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Cattle Trade & Prices

Date: 23/09/2016 

The cattle trade has seen some downward movement for the week ending September 23rd on the back of a strong recovery in supply coupled with little change in demand.

In general, steers were purchased at a base price of between €3.70/kg to €3.75/kg while heifers were making between €3.80/kg to €3.95/kg on the Quality Payment System. These prices exclude the €0.12 bonus payable on in-spec QA animals. Looking at cows, O grade cow prices are generally in the range between €2.90/kg and €3.20/kg.

Cattle supplies at Irish export meat plants for the week ending September 17th reached over 34,000 head which was almost 11% higher compared to the corresponding week last year and represents the highest weekly throughput so far this year. Cumulatively, supplies of young bulls are up 29% compared to the equivalent period in 2015 while cows are up 6% on 2015 numbers. Heifers remain on a par with year previous levels and steers are back 1%. Total year to date supply at export meat plants is up over 3% or 37,000 head at around 1.14 million head. The latest carcase weight data for August is showing an ease in weights compared to August 2015 however for the year to date a marginal rise has been recorded compared to the corresponding period last year.

In Britain, a robust trade continues on the back of ongoing tight supplies while the onset of cooler weather has led to better demand for rump with all other cuts holding relatively steady. Reported cattle prices from the AHDB show that GB R4L grade steers are averaging at Stg 367.9 pence/kg dw (equivalent to 428.4 cent/kg dw) for the week ended 17th September. Meanwhile in Northern Ireland the average R3 steer price was making the equivalent of around 401 cents/kg. In relation to heifers, the Northern Ireland R3 heifer was making 402 cent/kg while the GB equivalent was on average 428 cent/kg. The euro was making around 85.9p sterling during the week. Meanwhile the latest livestock census has shown a rise of almost 1% in June 2016 compared to 2015 with the beef breeding herd showing a rise of over 1% offsetting a small decline in the dairy breeding herd.   

In France, the market continues to reflect the trends evident over recent weeks with ongoing difficulties in getting imported product into retailers. Retail promotions were taking place in some retailers focusing on domestically produced mince, roasts and ribs. The R3 young bull price was on average making €3.53/kg while the O3 cow price was making around €2.97/kg.

In Italy, the market remains slow this week. The latest R3 young bull price was on average making €3.77/kg while the O3 cow price was making €2.47/kg. Meanwhile, in Germany demand for finished cattle has eased moderately while strong supplies have been noted.

Globally, in Canada year to date cattle supplies are running over 4% higher compared to year previous levels while in the USA, cattle futures prices remain low on the back of an anticipated rise in feeder cattle supplies in the short to medium term. In New Zealand, shipments of beef in July were down 2% compared to the same period in 2015 while exports from Australia continue to decline due to reduced supplies of cattle. The first beef shipments from Brazil to the USA were reported last week while the USDA have forecast a 2% rise in Brazilian beef production for 2017 driven by higher export demand and some growth in domestic demand.  

Ireland Meat Plant Prices(€/kg dw excluding VAT)

Week Ending % Change Average to Date % Ch
Cattle 19.09.2015 17.09.2016 Prev.Week Prev.Year 2015 2016
Steers O3 3.72 3.56 0.0 -4.3 3.87 3.68 -4.9
O4 3.74 3.56 0.0 -4.8 3.89 3.70 -4.9
R3 3.92 3.74 0.0 -4.6 4.06 3.84 -5.4
R4 3.91 3.72 0.0 -4.9 4.05 3.83 -5.4
U3 4.03 3.84 0.0 -4.7 4.18 3.93 -6.0
Young Bulls O3 3.73 3.50 0.0 -6.2 3.80 3.57 -6.1
R3 3.90 3.68 0.0 -5.6 3.99 3.75 -6.0
U3 3.97 3.77 0.0 -5.0 4.09 3.84 -6.1
Heifers O3 3.87 3.69 0.0 -4.7 3.99 3.81 -4.5
O4 3.86 3.68 0.0 -4.7 4.00 3.82 -4.5
R3 4.03 3.85 0.0 -4.5 4.17 3.98 -4.6
R4 4.02 3.84 0.0 -4.5 4.16 3.97 -4.6
Cows O3 3.40 2.95 0.0 -13.2 3.44 3.05 -11.3
O4 3.42 2.96 0.0 -13.5 3.45 3.05 -11.6
R3 3.56 3.19 0.0 -10.4 n.a. n.a. n.a.