Better bite to trade as steers at 355c/kg
While the hunger for beef cattle may not be at the same level of the Kilkenny hurlers last Sunday, there does seem to be a little more bite to the trade this week as factory agents are still being urged to do whatever is necessary to secure stock.
Last week's estimated kill of 31,169 animals was more than 2,000hd behind the same week last year.
Base quotes on the grid for steers are in the 350-355c/kg range, with 355-360c/kg being paid. Heifers are being quoted at 355-360c/kg, with actual prices of 360-370c/kg commonplace. Farmers accepting what they are quoted are losing out on a significant amount of money compared to what the factories are willing to pay if they are pushed. There is a €45 difference between 355c/kg and 370c/kg on a 300kg carcass.
Other positives for the beef trade include the move by Dunbia last week to begin killing cattle in Ennis, with the plan to kill three days a week there.
More significant is that Slaney Meats is toying with the idea of examining its customers' and markets' reaction to the raising of the age limit for the quality assured bonus payment to 36 months of age. Slaney hopes to begin a trial on this very soon and if it works it will be hugely significant.
Young bull prices are at 370-380c/kg for the U grades, with the Rs at 358-370c/kg and Os at 342-350c/kg. Quotes are a bit less than this.
Moyvalley Meats continues to pay 350c/kg for heavy U-grade cows over 400kg and 336c/kg for the Rs. The general run for P+ cows is 298-308c/kg and Os at 300-319c/kg with the top cows at 314-336c/kg depending on where you go.
Trade for cattle was broadly similar to the previous week, according to Bord Bia, although some increase in cow quotes was evident as demand for manufacturing beef remained firm, reflecting relatively tight cow supplies in Ireland and Britain.