Factory cow prices exceptionally high as steer prices hold
The continued strength in the cow trade, as processors put downward pressure on prime beef prices in recent weeks, has become difficult for producers to understand.
It is rare for an R-grade cow and a similar-grade steer to be priced similarly. Is making beef from the cow, primarily for the food service industry, so much in demand that it drives up prices to ensure a large supply to factories?
Or is it possible processors believe this is the time of year when finished steers will be moved in large numbers anyway as the flow of cattle off the grass for fall builds up towards the annual supply peak?
There is usually a difference of 20 to 25 cents/kg between the price of a quality R steer and that of a cow of similar quality. These weeks both are quoted at 480 cents/kg, an unusually high price for cows and a much reduced yield from two months ago for steer.
That said, the base prices offered for steers and heifers for this week are unchanged, with somewhat reduced pressure on plant agents to secure supply for the shorter working week, after the bank holiday. from last Monday.
On the steer side, there are still some deals being obtained for a base of 485 cents/kg and mention up to 490 cents/kg in exceptional cases, although quite difficult to obtain this week.
Heifers trade on a basis of 490 cents/kg with processors who strive to get as much of their needs as possible at this level. Suppliers who aggressively sell for an extra 5-10 cents/kg meet strong resistance.
The young bull trade continues to be on par with the steer price at 480 cents/kg for Rs, although it is a little easier to get up to 490 cents/kg for bulls under 16 months, that trade for steers.
As mentioned, prices for R-grade cows are holding very steady at 480 cents/kg for Rs, with O-grade at 469 cents/kg and up to 445 cents/kg for good P-grade cows.
There was a further increase in factory supply last week, which will cushion the inevitable drop in supply for the current four-day week, excluding the Monday holiday.
Supply stood at 34,236 head, which was slightly higher than the same week in 2021. Year-to-date supply is up just under 90,000 head from Last year.
There were 15,111 steers, 8,976 heifers, 7,320 cows and 2,121 young bulls provided. Steers were more than 1,000 head lower than 2021, while heifer supply was about 600 head higher.
Slaughter fell slightly last week to 37,425 head, indicating the supply of barn cattle is tightening.
There were 13,829 steers, 10,668 heifers, 8,558 cows and 2,622 young bulls, with all categories higher than a year ago.