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HomeBeefWeanling-to-beef finishers will need up to €5.76/kg to break-even – Teagasc
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
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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Weanling-to-beef finishers will need up to €5.76/kg to break-even – Teagasc

Weanling-to-beef heifer finishers will require up to €5.13/kg, as a breakeven selling price, while weanling-to-beef steer finishers will need up to €5.76/kg, according to Teagasc’s recently released 2023/2024 beef budgets.

The state agency has reviewed this finishing system, involving a bullock purchased at 300kgs and a heifer at 280kgs, being fed across two winters with meal and silage included in the diet.

Its winter finishing steer budget looks at the impact of autumn 2023 store prices, being lower, assumed, and higher, on breakeven prices needed in spring 2023.

Selling prices required, it added, only cover variable and fixed costs and, therefore, do not include a margin.

High level of management

The state agency has made its assumptions on “very good” efficiency levels with a “high” average daily gain.

It stresses that finishers “must maximise performance at grass and minimise indoor feeding periods on silage to control costs”.

A high level of management is required at all stages, it adds, before warning that veterinary and medical bills “can be high with poor management”.

Moreover, the system is “sensitive” to average daily gain over a 450-500-day period.

It has based its costings on meal at €350/t, despite many products remaining north of €400/t, along with silage at €45/t, with this being well-preserved, 20% DM and 72% DMD, coupled with grazing costs of 10c/kg DM per head.

It has also factored in animal health costs of €39/head for steers and €24/head for heifers, with a further €39/head for transport and marketing costs.

Also, the state agency has included half the interest cost on feed and animals borrowed at 7%.


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.

Here are Teagasc’s workings:

Heifers Bullocks
Credit – Teagasc

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