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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Steer finishers require €4.90/kg to break-even

Steers: Break-even price of €4.90/kg

Teagasc has, this week, published a series of beef budgets for various finishing systems.

It has analysed enterprises including winter finishing steers, weanling to beef, bull beef and autumn to autumn.

The state agency reported that meal prices have increased by €60/t to €300/t on last year. In turn, it pointed out that this hike will impact winter finishing steer systems and, to a greater extent, bull beef production systems.

It pointed out that cattle prices are up approximately 7% on last year’s levels. It outlined that categories, such as steers in the 500-600kgs weight bracket and heaving bull weanlings 400-450kgs, are up 10-12% during the same period.

However, it added, the result of this increase is that finishers will require a higher beef price to break-even.

In the first of a series of articles, we focus on its winter finishing steers budget.

For the purpose of this particular budget, it used a 500kg Friesian or Hereford-cross steer and a 530kg Continental steer as examples.

Their diets consist of good quality silage along with 4-5kgs of concentrates. Furthermore, they achieve carcase weights of 326kg, 332kg and 375kg, respectively.

Aidan Murray, Teagasc beef specialist, explained that purchase prices are based on Martwatch figures from August to mid-September.

He added that prices, this year, ranged from €1.97/kg, 2.26/kg and 2.55/kg for the animal-types in question.

Steers: Break-even price

Friesian Hereford-X Continental-X
Purchase weight October (kg) 500 500 530
Silage required (tonnes) 5.5 5.5 5.0
Meal (kg/head/day) 4 4 4.5
Average Daily Gain (kg) 0.9 0.9 1.0
Liveweight at sale (kg) 626 626 670
Carcass weight 326 332 375
Purchase weight 500 500 530
Assumed purchase price (€/100kg liveweight) 197 226 255
Purchase price (€/head) 985 1130 1352
Plus costs: (€/head) 383 383 389
Variable costs (€) 91 93 96
Fixed costs (€) 474 476 485
Break-even selling price required (€/head) 1459 1606 1837
Break-even selling price required 4.48 4.84 4.90

Impact of Autumn-2021 store prices on break-even price required in spring 2022:



Lower store prices autumn 2019

–        € per 100kg


–        Break-even price required €/kg carcass


































Assumed store price autumn 2019

–        € per 100kg


–        Break-even price required €/kg carcass

























Higher store prices autumn 2019


–        € per 100kgs


–        Break-even price required €/kg carcass





























The state agency explained that it prepared this budget based on the following assumptions:

  • Very good levels of efficiency with a high average daily gain;
  • Meal cost at €300 per tonne;
  • Silage quality critical to performance – Well preserved o 20% DM-72% DMD. Cost of €30 per tonne;
  • Good animal health – dosing and other health costs at €8 per head;
  • Transport and marketing at €42 per head;
  • Half the interest cost on feed and animals borrowed at 7%;
  • No mortality assumed;
  • Selling price required only covers variable and fixed costs and does not include a margin.

The state agency highlighted that using ad-lib meals over the last 80 days could be an option in a year with lower meal costs.

Other articles to follow.

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