Disappointing results for finishers
Abeef finisher said to me over the weekend that our beef factories are like Fine Gael and Labour in that they are competing vigorously with each other at one level while at the next level they appear to be almost too close for comfort.
In any case, there is undoubtedly much more movement from our politicians this week than there is on cattle quotes and prices. This is extremely disappointing for finishers who have incurred ever-increasing costs to get their cattle to this stage.
The steers remain on a base of 330c/kg around the country with the heifers generally at an unchanged 336c/kg base. Factory men seem satisfied with the numbers on offer as, despite the estimated kill continuing to run at 4,000 less than last year, the 30,200 slaughtered last week was similar to the previous week and sufficient to match demand, according to a few of their sources.
Plants mentioned at the 330 and 336c/kg for the steers and heifers above include Aibp, Dawn and Kepak factories as well as Moyvalley, Kildare, Slaney, Dunbia, Duleek and Liffey. Demand in the north east is said to have resulted in up to 350c/kg being paid for young bulls with as high as 350c/kg rumoured to have been paid for heifers. Donegal are paying 350 and 358c/kg for the in-spec R and U-grade bullocks respectively with the heifers at 3c/kg more. Out of spec stock are selling at 11c/kg less than those figures.
Quotes for the U grade young bulls range from 342-347c/kg with Donegal at the higher end. They also fill this role for the Rs where plants vary from 330- 339c/kg. The O grades range between 319-322c/kg. IFA livestock chairman Michael Doran said that cattle prices have to increase immediately by a minimum of 10c/kg in order to cover the extra costs at farm gate. Speaking from the IFA executive council meeting in Dublin yesterday, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny reiterated his strong support for live exports, saying that they are essential for competition and market outlets.
Tops for the cull cows appear to be in the 302-308c/kg bracket, with reports of up to 314c/kg to be got if reasonable numbers of good heavy well-fleshed cows are being offered.
R grades range from 291-308c/kg, while the O grades are making 274-291c/kg. Quotes for the Ps run from 265-280c/kg with Donegal offering up to 300c/kg for the O+ cows killing out over 320kgs. They are paying 305c/kg for the Rs.
AN Bord Bia reported that the cattle trade across all categories eased slightly last week despite lower supplies at export meat plants. This reflects a more sluggish European beef trade.