Bid to take price below €4 thwarted
A rugby pundit said on Saturday evening that "we shouldn't be getting too excited" about beating the Italians. The same could be said of the beef trade this week as a number of plants that had tried to quote below the €4/kg base have now been forced back up to the even money.
This figure has to be seen as a minimum for farmers selling finished bullocks at this stage and, even at that, we will definitely not be getting overly excited. Those cattle were bought in at high prices and the costs associated with finishing them off have soared.
With last week's kill hovering just above the 26,000 mark, which incidentally is more than 4,600hd below last year's level, the farmer's bargaining power is greatly strengthened.
Factories have had to up their quotes by 5-10c/kg across the board. Some of them are keen to point out that carcasses over 410-420kg are moving into the 'too heavy' weights and are anxious for finishers to move the cattle at weights below this level.
Base quotes for steers once you come out of the deep south (where a few plants are trying to hold onto the 390-395c/kg price) are generally at 400-405c/kg. Rs are reportedly making up to 415c/kg in the northwest, while a mix of good heavy steers commanded this as a flat price elsewhere during the past week.
Similarly, the heifer quotes have moved to a range of 405-410c/kg, with a top of 415-418c/kg secured for R grades.
O-grade bulls are being quoted at 380-391c/kg. Quotes for the Rs are at 395-400c/kg but 410c/kg has been on the table for them. The U grades are making 405-412c/kg.