Northern Irish Beef Trade Back Slightly

UK - Plants were inundated with young bulls following the over 16 month penalty rule introduced in the New Year, report Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) analysts.
calendar icon 21 January 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

Quotes from the plants this week for U-3 grade prime cattle ranged from 346-350p/kg with 348 350p/kg  being quoted for Monday.

Bonuses of 8-14p/kg are available across the plants for in spec steers and heifers. Quotes for O+3 cows ranged from 225-250p/kg across the plants with the majority of plants quoting from 240-250p/kg. 

With the introduction of increased penalties for young bulls over 16 months from the start of this year, and indications from some processors late last year that they would not handle overage bulls in the New Year, resulted in the young bull kill increasing in the last quarter of 2013 and recording a decline in the first two weeks of 2014. Last week 77 per cent of the price reported bulls were under 16 months of age compared to 29 per cent in the corresponding week last year.

Reports from the plants have indicated that prime cattle supplies are in line with demand for beef with a total of 5,766 prime cattle slaughtered in NI plants last week. In the corresponding week in 2013 prime cattle throughput in the NI plants totalled 6,769, representing a drop in throughput of 1,003 head or 15 per cent when comparing the two weeks.

Imports from ROI for slaughter in NI plants last week consisted of 239 prime cattle and 6 cows while 150 NI origin cows were slaughtered in ROI plants. Exports to GB last week for direct slaughter consisted of 226 clean cattle and 46 cows.

The average steer price in NI last week was 353.6p/kg, back 4p/kg on the previous week while the R3 steer price increased by 1.4p/kg to 365.6p/kg. The average heifer prices in NI last week was 357.3p/kg, back 2.4p/kg from the previous week with the R3 heifer price almost unchanged at 364.4p/kg. The young bull price increased by 2.1 p/kg to 322.3p/kg last week with the R3 price up 6.5p/kg to 336.8p/kg.

This increase is likely to have been driven by the increase in the proportion of young bulls slaughtered under 16 months. The average cow price in NI last week was 216.2p/kg, lower than all the GB regions with the exception of Southern England where the average price was 201.1p/kg.

In GB last week the trade remained under pressure with average steer prices back by 3.3p/kg to 380.9p/kg with prices in all the GB regions recording a decline. In Scotland last week the average heifer price remained steady at 400.2p/kg while it recorded a decline across the other GB regions.

The average heifer price in GB last week was 380.9p/kg, back 3.6p/kg on the previous week. Young bull prices have come under pressure in GB with average prices recording a decline in all the GB regions. The average price young bull price in GB last week was back 7.5p/kg on the previous week to 342.4p/kg.

In ROI last week the trade for steers and heifers was broadly similar to the previous week in euro terms but a weakening of the euro has meant prices were generally back in sterling terms. The R3 steer price last week was back by 2.6p/kg to 320.4p/kg while the R3 heifer price was within half a penny of the previous week at 337.6p/kg. The O3 young bull price has shown the most notable decline in ROI with prices back the equivalent of 9.7p/kg to 281.5p/kg last week.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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