Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Beef Trade: The grid is the way to go if your stock make the cut

Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

UP TO €4.05/kg was paid as a base for bullocks at some plants yesterday morning, IFA sources say.

Yet, the reality for Friesian type stock on the grid is that prices are still struggling once you slip out of the bonuses.

At the same time, quotes of €3.85/kg flat for O grade Friesians were reported, which is a lot better than seeing your O= or O- grade bullock slide back to anything from €3.82-3.52/kg.

If you’re confident your stock can make the cut, the grid is the way to go. However, for those with less ‘polished’ animals, the option of the flat price is once again gaining credence.

Bull numbers continue to fall, with the latest quotes seeing U grades and Rs now both on €4/kg ,with O grades at €3.90-3.85/kg. The cow continues “good to steady” this week, with O grades up to €3.45/kg, while P+ grades on €3.35/kg, with some plants offering a flat price for combination loads of €3.40/kg. R grades also see a rise, with their price on €3.50-3.70/kg.

Numbers drive the game, and in relation to that I had a very interesting chat with one farmer agent who pointed out that having numbers of cattle to sell is in the farmer’s favour this year.

This is unlike other years when numbers were almost a hindrance as factories ran the clock down on issues such as age and weight, thus forcing the sellers hand.


The latest Department of Agriculture Meat Market report shows Irish beef prices have slowly climbed off the floor towards the average on the EU price league table.

Ireland has given much of this year to date welded to the bottom rung of that particular league table, but we are improving, apparently. As of the week commencing March 20, the average Irish price (excluding VAT) was 379.4c/kg which was marginally above the EU 15 average of 376.6c/kg.

We were also ahead of both France and Germany whose averages that week for R3 grade bulls stood at €3.75 and €3.78/kg respectively.

The average British price stood at 405.8c/kg, while Northern Ireland had closed up on the UK to within 1.5p/ kg at 404.3c/kg - all prices exclude VAT.

When you look at those figures for France, Germany and that EU average you realise it’s all about the UK market.

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