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Cattle Trade & Prices

Cattle & Beef

Throughput: Up until the week ending September 24th  2023, the overall cattle throughput in DAFM approved plants has totalled approximately 1,267,366 head, a 3% decrease from the corresponding period last year. Cattle are coming forward later that  normal  due to summer grazing conditions and are expected to increase as we move into the latter of the year. Cow availability has declined in recent weeks and for the year-to-date cow-slaughterings are running 7,460 head behind of record 2022 levels. Prices for cows have also eased in recent weeks , reflecting a weaker trade in Europe for manufacturing beef. For the week ending September 24th 2023, a total of 35,368 head of cattle were processed, which represented a decrease of 5% or -1,939 head on the equivalent week last year.

Prices: Despite tighter cattle supplies and lighter carcase weights, lower consumption volumes across markets are also impacting on market demand, leaving supply and demand currently finely balanced. Base quotes for steers have continued an upward trend and mostly range from €4.70 and €4.75/kg, while quotes for heifers mainly ranging from €4.75 to €4.80/kg. Regarding cull cow prices, well-fleshed O-grades are typically selling for between €4.10 and €4.20/kg. Finished P-grade cows are mainly making between €3.70 and €3.80/kg, while prices paid for better R-grade cull cows have been between €4.30 and €4.40/kg. For the week ending September 24th 2023, the average price paid by Irish meat plants for R3 steers remained the same to be €4.68/kg. This was 11c/kg below the corresponding week in 2022. The average Irish R3 heifer price also increased by 5c/kg to €4.73/kg for the same week. Note that reported prices exclude VAT but include all bonus payments such as in-spec bonus, breed-based producer groups etc.

EU and UK prices: European young bull prices  have increased over the latest few weeks, the EU average price for R3 grading young bulls remained steady last week at €4.84/kg (excluding VAT). On average, UK R3 steer pricesdecreased by £0.3p/kg to £4.77/kg, equivalent to €5.51/kg, for the week ending September 24th 2023.


In the last few weeks we have seen a significant development to help advance the position of Irish Beef in our main beef markets, with the progression of the application for a PGI (protected geographic indication) for Irish Grass Fed Beef. This is the last stage in the approval process and if successful, will protect the name and reputation of Irish Grass Fed Beef, allowing it to be marketed alongside other well-known European regional speciality products.

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