The cattle trade for the week ending April 29th was reported as steady on the back of good demand and an ease in supplies.
In general, steers were purchased at a base price of around €3.95/kg to €4.00/kg on the Quality Payment System, while the main base price payable for heifers was making between €4.05/kg and €4.10/kg with selected lots achieving around 5 cents more. These prices exclude the 12 cents bonus payable on in-spec QA animals. Prices paid for O grade cull cows were generally in the range between €3.20/kg to €3.35/kg.
Cattle supplies at Irish export meat plants for the week ending April 22nd reached over 29,000 head which was on a par with supplies for the corresponding week in 2015. For the year to-date, throughput of steers and heifers are marginally higher with cows back 2% while availability of young bulls has risen by 32% so far this year. Overall year to date supply is up 3% or 16,000 head.
Figures for the first quarter of 2016 are showing net production up almost 5% at 147,800 tonnes which is driven by a 3% rise in throughputs coupled with higher carcase weights across all grades.
In Britain, for the week ending April 22nd, AHDB report that average prices for both R4L grade steers and heifers declined by 2p/kg to Stg 322.4p/kg. In Euro terms the British steer price is now equivalent to €4.16/kg, with the euro currently valued at 77.5p sterling. Supply continues to outweigh demand at present with little change reported in the trade this week.
In France the beef trade remains under pressure this week with little demand reported for imported product at retail level with the focus almost exclusively on domestically produced product. A small number of strong price promotions are taking place on French produced steak and ribs. The French R3 young bull price fell by 4c/kg this week to an average of €3.60/kg while the O3 cow price was down 3c to €3.06/kg.
In Italy, little change in the trade was reported. The R3 young bull price was averaging around €4.05/kg while the O3 cow price was up 1c to €2.61/kg.
In the US, the latest forecast from the USDA has pointed towards a rise in beef production by around 2% this year. Ample supplies of feeder cattle have been reported with carcase weights heavier on the back of good weather and lower feed prices.