Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Thursday 21 September 2017

Beef Trade: Rising prices lift confidence

A stronger demand for cattle stock has seen prices rise
A stronger demand for cattle stock has seen prices rise
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

There is an increased feeling among the farming community that in the longer term ‘Brexit will come and go’.

That was the general sum-up of the feeling on the ground by David White of Castleisland mart.

Indeed as we approach the half-way point in 2017, the one thing you can say about the cattle business is that there appears to be plenty of confidence in the air, regardless of what lies down the road. That confidence is driven, as it always has been, by factory prices.

While this week’s quotes for bullocks and heifers are not that different from last week’s €4.10/kg and €4.20/kg respectively, there is ‘talk’ of the possibility of 5c/kg more. Yesterday morning I heard whispers that €4.25/kg had been paid towards the end of last week to secure heifers.

The tipping point is numbers: if you have them, your number is now on speed dial with your local factory boss.

While these prices lie a long way off the €4.80s to €5.00/kg bases of a few years ago, the tempo of the trade at present is constant, a steady beat in upward movement.

The message appears to be ‘keep ’em coming’ and with numbers not really slackening away from 30-32,000 average over the last few weeks, prices if anything have continued to edge upwards.

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It’s those gradual increases that are keeping the wheels turning and keeping the finisher with skin in the game as they attempt to replenish numbers. Moving to quotes for bulls, base prices for under-16 month stock moved up to €4.15/kg, with talk that €4.20/kg was now possible.

The cow, like her bullock, heifer and bull counterparts, also sees a lift with R grades now in the €3.70s/kg.

In conclusion, this week the trade is in a good place, with farmer confidence high on the back of factory order books, which are apparently full and being replenished each week.

Indeed the talk is that by the end of June and into July, heifers at least may be closer to €5/kg than €4/kg.

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