Cattle Trade & Prices
Cattle & Beef
Throughput: Cattle supplies at export approved meat plants totaled 33,243 head during the week ending March 24th, 2023 (Week 12). Total throughput for the year-to-date is 418,780 head, a decrease of 5,038 head ahead of the same period last year which accounts for less than a one per cent decrease. Prime cattle numbers have tightened in line with Bord Bia forecasts during Q1 2023 while stronger than expected cow throughput has contributed to the maintenance of the kill at 2022 levels.
Prices: For the week ending March 24th, 2023 the R3 increased by 1c/kg on the previous week to become €5.26/kg. This is 53c/kg above the corresponding week in 2022. The Irish R3 heifer price also increased by 1c/kg to €5.30/kg last week. This figure is 54c/kg above the corresponding week in 2022. Note that reported prices exclude VAT but include all bonus payments such as in-spec bonus, breed-based producer groups etc.
World prices: Young bull prices in the EU have remained strong in recent weeks with the latest reported price for R3 grading young bulls at €5.15/kg (excluding VAT). UK R3 Steer prices continued to increase and were the equivalent of €5.57/kg last week.
Composite prices: The Irish prime composite cattle price and the prime Export Benchmark for week ending March 17th, 2023 were equivalent to €5.22/kg and €4.96/kg deadweight respectfully. These exclude VAT.
The Irish prime composite cattle price for week ending March 17th, 2023 was €5.22/kg deadweight excluding VAT, compared with the EU prime export benchmark (excluding UK) of €4.91/kg.
The live export trade continues to provide an important alternative market outlet for the Irish livestock sector and the trade has started 2023 very strongly. During the week ending March 10th, 2023 there were 15,044 cattle exported out of the country taking total cattle exports for the year to date to 75,424 head. This is an increase of 16,171 head (+27%) from the corresponding period in 2022 and has been driven primarily by an uplift in the number of calves being traded with customers in mainland Europe.
Competitive calf prices, firm demand for calves in key export markets and favourable sailing conditions have contributed to almost 60,000 calves leaving the country so far this year. This is a 40% increase from 2022 levels. The Netherlands and Spain have continued to be the most important markets for Irish calves with smaller number destined for a range of other EU markets.
Overall there is a fairly positive outlook for the calf trade during 2023 with demand for older categories of cattle also holding steady. There has been a strong increase in weanling exports so far this year with demand in the EU holding steady and some increased international activity. Trade with Northern Ireland for older categories of cattle have remained subdued with the trade being impacted by increasing live weight/deadweight prices.
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