For the week ending February 17th, the cattle trade remains relatively steady due to firm demand while supply continues to rise.
In general, steers were purchased at a base price of between €3.75/kg and €3.80/kg while heifers were making around €3.85/kg to €3.90/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 €3.10/kg and €3.20/kg.
Cattle supplies at Irish export meat plants for the week ending February 11th totalled over 34,500 head which was up 2% on the equivalent week in 2016. Cumulative supplies of steers were back 5% while young bulls were back by 13%. Meanwhile year to date supply of heifers were on a par with year previous levels and cows were up 15% on 2016 levels. Overall total cumulative supplies of cattle were standing at around 194,000 head which was back over 3.000 head or 2% on the corresponding period in 2016.
In the UK, the trade continues to remain steady with strong supply being offset by good demand particularly at retail level. Cattle prices from the AHDB show that GB R4L grade steers were averaging at 362.8 pence/kg dw which is equivalent to 424.85 cent/kg for the week ended February 11th. In terms of heifer prices, the R3 heifer in Great Britain was making the equivalent of 417 cent/kg with the Northern Ireland price making on average 408 cent/kg. Looking at exchange rates the euro/sterling rate was relatively steady this week with €1 making on average 85p sterling. Meanwhile the latest AHDB outlook has pointed towards an ease in overall production due to a slowdown in cow numbers with prime cattle numbers staying relatively steady. In terms of trade, it is forecast that imports will be marginally higher than 2016 levels while exports are also expected to see some rise.
In France, the market remains unchanged from previous weeks and continues to be dominated by domestically produced product with trade best for offal products. Retail promotions have been very limited and were focused on domestically produced ribs. The latest R3 young bull price was making on average 372 cent/kg while the O3 cow price was making 307 cent/kg.
In Italy, the market remains stagnant with little change in prices or demand. The R3 young bull price was making on average 407 cent/kg while the O3 cow price was making 254 cent/kg.