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Cattle Trade & Prices

Cattle Trade & Prices

Cattle & Beef

Throughput: Cattle supplies at export meat plants totaled 34,251 head during the week ending September 11th, 2021. Throughput figures decreased by 246 head on the week previous and 2,075 head on the same week last year. Supply is steady week on week, and has remained slightly lower than previous years. This gap is slowly tightening as the weeks draw on, however, word on greater supply shortages in the near future continue to be heard.

Prime cattle throughput did not see much of a change; figures decreased by 20 head (-0.1%) on the previous week, and is currently running slightly below 2020 levels (-0.8%). 

A total of 1,143,593 animals have been processed for the first 36 weeks of 2021. This figure represents the decline of 76,188 head on the corresponding period in 2020, which equates to a 6.2% drop. Heifer and cow throughput have declined by -6.6% and -24% respectfully on the same period 12 months ago. Young bull and steer production have increased supply by 29% and 0.8% on the same time 12 months ago, respectfully. Calf prices have seen a steep downward facing trend over the last number of weeks in both the beef and the dairy price categories, remaining just over €2.06/kg and €1.40 respectfully.  

Prices: Beef prices ae set to rise over the coming weeks as buying activity increases. However, quotes for finished cattle have seen downwards trends over the past number of weeks. Factories are generally quoting prices of €4.00-4.25/kg for steers and €4.05-4.30/kg for heifers. General demand for better-quality, well-fleshed cows remains strong with quotes for P grade cows are ranging between €3.20-€3.40/kg, with good quality O grade cows achieving prices of  €3.50/kg. R grade quality cows are receiving quotes of up to €3.70/kg from most plants. 

The average prices paid for prime cattle for week ending September 11th, 2021 as recorded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, were €4.17/kg for R3 steers, and €4.21/kg for R3 heifers. Note that these prices exclude VAT but would include all bonuses such as for breed-based producer groups. While prices have dropped slightly, the average price paid for steers to date in 2021 is 15% higher than prices paid in 2020.

Across Europe, average R3 young bull prices remained steady at €3.98/kg excluding VAT. Irish R3 steers exceeded this figure by 19c/kg. The UK Average R3 price remained strong at €4.81/kg. Irish prices remain third highest in Europe this week for R3 steers, behind Sweden and Germany.

The current strength of Irish cattle prices among world prices is evident as Ireland comes just after Australian and UK steer prices.

Composite prices: The Irish composite cattle price and the Export Benchmark for week ending September 11th,2021 were €3.96/kg and €3.97/kg deadweight excluding VAT, respectfully.

The Prime Irish Composite cattle price for week ending September 11th, 2021 was €4.10/kg deadweight excluding VAT, compared with the Prime EU export benchmark of €3.93/kg.

Live Exports

For the week ending September 11th, 2021 live cattle exports reduced to 2,122 head according to the latest available figures from Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine. This takes total live cattle exports for the first 36 weeks of the year to 211,041, which is 3,187 head lower than the corresponding period in 2020. Low supplies continue to be forecasted over the coming weeks.

Northern Ireland has experienced a strong increase in cattle imports from the Republic of Ireland since the beginning of the year, reaching over 54,000 heads. This is almost 30% higher than the same period in 2020. The majority of these animals have been destined for further breeding/production.

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