The trade for prime cattle continued to improve this week, to Friday the 28th of April. In general, steers were purchased at a base price of €4.05/kg on the Quality Payment System, while the main base price payable for heifers was €4.15. These prices exclude the €0.12 bonus payable on in-spec QA animals.
Strong demand was also reported for cull cows, with O grade cow prices generally in the range between €3.35/kg and €3.45/kg.
Cattle supplies at Irish export meat plants for the week ending April 22nd reached almost 29,000 head. This throughput was slightly below the equivalent week in 2016, although it did include Easter Monday when no processing took place. For the year to-date, overall slaughterings have risen by 2% or 10,000 head. This increase is mainly accounted for by higher numbers of cull cows (up 11%), which have been partly offset by fewer young bulls slaughtered (down 10%).
In Britain, for the week ending April 22nd AHDB report that average prices for R4L grade steers improved by 2.5p/kg to Stg 361p/kg. In Euro terms the British steer price is now equivalent to €4.26/kg, while the latest Northern Irish R3 steer price equates to €4.16/kg (excl VAT), with the Euro currently valued at 84.5p Sterling. Retail sales of beef are performing well in the UK, with the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel revealing a 3% uplift in volumes during the 12 weeks to March 28th.
In France, retail promotions continue to focus mainly on domestically produced beef, rather than Irish product. However, the recent French bank holidays have contributed to improved demand from foodservice, especially for chucks, flanksteaks and thickskirts, as well as forequarter product for mincing. French R3 young bulls were making €3.72/kg while the O3 cow price averaged €3.22/kg.
In Italy, the R3 young bull price declined slightly to €3.98/kg while the O3 cow price improved to €2.72/kg.
In the German market, demand for beef is said to be somewhat brisker, with the relatively cold weather having a beneficial effect on sales.