Optimism on cattle prices paid by Irish Meat Plants

18/01/2022 Website News
Optimism  on cattle prices paid by Irish Meat Plants

Cattle & Beef

Bord Bia Update for week ending 8 Jan 2022

Throughput: Cattle supplies at export meat plants totaled 26,810 head during the week ending January 8th, 2022 (Week 1). Throughput figures increased by 6,594 head on the week previous and remains the same as the first week of 2021. Supply is steady week on week, and will remain tight for the first half of the year.

A total of 1,687,127 animals were processed in 2021. This figure represents a decline of 90,166 head on the corresponding period in 2020, which equates to a five per cent drop.

Prices: There are signs of further optimism with regard to the prices paid by Irish meat plants, with firm market demand reported for most of the carcass cuts. In general, producers are being offered a base price on the QPS of between €4.20 and 4.25/kg for steers, with €0.05/kg more being paid for heifers. Demand for better-quality, well-fleshed cows remains strong, and in general quotes tend to range from €3.00-3.30/kg for P grade cows, to prices of between €3.40and €3.45/kg for good quality O grade cows, while up to €3.70/kg is being paid for quality R grade cows.

Input costs are set to increase further as a result of the strong domestic market.

The average prices paid for prime cattle for week ending January 8th, 2022 as recorded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, were €4.29/kg for R3 steers, and €4.34/kg for R3 heifers. These prices have decreased over the previous week, but remain stable. Note that these prices exclude VAT but would include all bonuses such as for breed-based producer groups. This weekly Steer price is 54c/kg or 14% higher than the first week in 2021.

World prices: For the week ending January 1st, 2022, Global prices are strong, and across Europe, average R3 young bull prices have seen very strong growth rates over the last number of weeks to €4.45/kg excluding VAT. Irish R3 steers lie just below this figure at €4.29/kg. The UK Average R3 price has remained strong at €4.89/kg. Australia R3 steer prices lifted slightly to €4.68/kg, and are expected to remain high.

Composite prices: The Irish composite cattle price and the Export Benchmark for week ending January 1st, 2022 were €4.09/kg deadweight excluding VAT, and €4.07/kg, respectively.  

The Prime Irish Composite cattle price for week ending January 1st, 2022 was €4.26/kg deadweight excluding VAT, compared with the Prime EU export benchmark (excluding the UK) of €4.14kg.

Live Exports

For the week ending January 8th, 2022 live cattle exports totalled 354 head according to the latest available figures from Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine. Most of which were destined for Northern Ireland, followed by Italy.

There were a total of 246,872 live cattle exported out of Ireland in 2021, which represents a decline of almost 10% from total exports in 2020. Spain remained the largest export market for Irish cattle, primarily exporting calves. Northern Ireland has and continues to be the standout market in terms of market growth, primarily exporting older and more valuable stock.

With strong cattle prices on the domestic market, it has been more difficult for Irish cattle to compete in key export markets. Over recent weeks, the number of cattle exported has generally trended below year-earlier levels, and these are dominated by movements of store and finished animals to Northern Ireland.

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