Continental bull beef finishers will require over €6.00/kg as a break-even selling price, according to Teagasc’s recently published beef budgets for 2023/2024.
The state agency has reviewed this finishing system, involving a weanling purchased at 320 to 420kgs, and fed either silage and meals or concentrates and straw across a six-month finishing period and an eight-month finishing period.
Within its costings, it has priced concentrates at €350/t, despite many products remaining north of €400/t.
Moreover, it has factored in a 0% mortality rate, silage at €45/tonne (well preserved, 20% DM, 72% DMD), dosing and other health costs at €35/head, transport, and marketing at €40/head, and half the interest cost on feed and animals borrowed at 7%.
The state agency, in its budget, noted that this is a “high-risk system that is sensitive to buying and selling price and performance achieved”.
It has outlined that some markets have upper carcass weights and age limits and, as a result, farmers should secure a market outlet for bulls before commencing this system type.
It looks at the effect of prices – lower store prices this autumn, assumed store prices this autumn and higher store prices this autumn, on the breakeven price required.
The highest price per kg contained in the budget is €6.16/kg, which is based on higher weanling prices in autumn 2023, and farmers would require this to break even in 2024.
About the beef finishing budgets
Every autumn, the state agency produces and releases a set of financial budgets, which it outlines are “a guide to beef farmers who are buying cattle for finishing over the following 18 months”.
It added that purchase prices are based on the prevailing market value at the time for both weanlings and store cattle, while inputs required for finishing are also set at “current market values”.
Each budget calculates a breakeven selling price (cents/kg carcase weight) for that particular system and takes account of the purchase price and all the associated variable and fixed costs incurred.
It calculates the selling price required including a margin on finishing as:
Margin required / Carcass weight + breakeven price required = selling price required.
Any proposed margin per head will be additional to the breakeven price, it added.
It is important to remember that these budgets only serve as a guide to beef farmers.
- Heifer winter finishers will require €5.67/kg as breakeven selling price
- Table: What beef price will steer winter finishers require to breakeven?
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