Teagasc budgetary guidelines for farmers buying store bullocks to finish this winter indicate that a factory price of €5.47/kg (carcass weight) will be needed for continental steers to breakeven.
These figures were outlined at a Teagasc suckler and beef farmer information event which took place at Kildalton Agricultural College this afternoon (Friday, September 8).
The Teagasc guideline figures for finishing steers this winter are broken down into three categories: Continental-cross, Hereford-cross, and Friesian.
The table below outlines the 2023/24 figures for farmers winter-finishing steers:
It was emphasized that the budget simply provides guideline figures and that different farm systems will have different costs.
Beef farmers were encouraged to do up their own costs using figures relevant to their farms.
As the table above indicates, based on assumed store cattle prices for autumn 2023, a beef price of €4.98/kg will be needed to break even in the Friesian bullock finishing system.
A beef price of €5.39/kg will be needed to break even on the Hereford-cross bullock finishing system and a beef price of €5.47/kg will be needed to break even on the continental-cross bullock finishing system.
The breakeven beef prices are down considerably from 2022’s price levels.
Farmers were reminded that silage quality is critical to animal performance over the winter. In the above costs, silage with a dry matter (DM) of 20% is assumed with a dry matter digestibility (DMD) of 72% and a cost of €45/t DM.
The table below shows the impact of higher and lower store cattle prices on the breakeven selling price required:
Transport and marketing costs were included at €42/head. Dosing and other animal health costs were factored in at €8/head with no mortality assumed.
The costs also accounted for half the interest cost on feed and animals borrowed at 7%. Meal costs were factored in at €330/t.
The selling prices outlined in the Teagasc budget only cover variable and fixed costs and do not include a margin.
While the costs will vary from farm to farm, the key point is for farmers to do their own budgets with their own costs and be realistic with costs.