In a highly cynical move, factories have moved to pull quotes this week in a bid to lower beef prices coming into the winter months.

While a few factories threatened to buy bullocks at €4.70/kg last week, when the push came, a lot of these agents ended up buying these bullocks at €4.75/kg.

Heifers have also dropped this week to €4.75/kg from last week’s quote of €4.80/kg. Aberdeen Angus bonuses remain at 20c to 30c/kg, while Hereford bonuses are working off 10c to 15c/kg.

Bulls are being quoted at €4.70/kg to €4.80/kg for R and U grading bulls, with a few regular, bigger suppliers still squeezing €4.90/kg for U grading bulls.

Friesian bulls are being quoted at €4.50/kg to €4.60/kg, depending on weight and flesh cover. Under-16-month bulls are generally working off a base of €4.80/kg.

Cow trade

Cows continue to be the highlight of the trade, with U grading cows coming in at €4.70/kg to €4.80/kg.

R grading cows are being quoted at €4.60/kg to €4.70/kg. However, those with numbers have been able to strike deals 5c to 10c/kg higher than the official quoted prices.

The current move flies in the face of what Ireland’s main exporting destinations are seeing

The current move flies in the face of what Ireland’s main exporting destinations are seeing in terms of the beef trade.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is reporting a very steady beef trade across the UK, with prices moving upwards across the last few weeks.

Taking a look at Irish price compared to the UK and EU prices, the Irish R3 bullock price is now 31c/kg behind the UK price and is currently 20c/kg behind the EU price.

Speaking at a Teagasc/IFA-organised event in Kilkenny last week, Kepak agri-director Jonathan Forbes was positive for the late spring of 2023 where he expects cattle supplies to remain tight and beef quotes to reflect that.

While the talk that night was encouraging to hear from a winter finisher’s point of view, Monday's move tells a different story, with quotes moving in the wrong direction ahead of a winter which will be one of the most expensive on record to finish cattle.

The latest cut is seeing winter finishers seriously questioning the future of their system, with factories showing complete disregard for finishers staring at an almost doubling of meal bill costs this winter.