The cattle trade remains relatively steady this week with demand brisk for selected categories while supplies were reported as stable.
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 €3.00/kg and €3.15/kg.
Cattle supplies at Irish export meat plants for the week ending January 7th totalled 28,000 head. Steers reached over 9,000 head while heifers and young bulls stood at 8,500 and 4,700 head respectively. Cow numbers totalled over 5,000 head. Bord Bia launched its Performance and Prospects export report during the past week and increased supplies during 2016 led to a higher beef export availability and total beef exports for 2016 reached an estimated 535,000 tonnes which was up 5% on 2015 levels.
In the UK, stability in the prime cattle market was reported while positive beef retail sales were reported over the festive period. Cattle prices from the AHDB show that GB R4L grade steers increased marginally in sterling terms and are averaging at 366.9 pence/kg dw, this is equivalent to 423.22 cent/kg dw for the week ended January 7th. Looking at exchange rates the euro was making 87p sterling on average during the week.
In France, the market remains slow particularly for entrecotes and steaks with demand best for offal type products such as tongues and cheeks. At retail level demand for imported product remains subdued while promotions were limited and centred on domestically produced such as ribs. Meanwhile, in Italy, little change has been reported in the market.