price increase but huge gap remains
While Leinster almost slogged their way to what would have been a priceless draw in France on Sunday, it is also a slog for the beef trade with the processors similar to the French defence, stubbornly refusing to yield much ground.
Despite some slight increases, there is still a huge gap between the general base quote of an average 400c/kg here and the vat inclusive price of 476c/kg being paid by the same processors for similar grade cattle in Britain. I suppose if they can get stock here at that discount, why would they pay any more? The statistics show that the plants are getting plenty of stock with last week's kill of almost 33,300hd a contender for the biggest weekly kill of 2012.
It is also probably the first time this year that the kill has been higher than the corresponding week last year. The bright spot here is that while the kill was very high by this year's standards, the agents and factories were still very anxious to source and secure stock with some farmers successfully bargaining for as much as 5-10c/kg above the first offer.
Price aside, I have met quite a few farmers recently who have not been happy with the kill-out weight of their cattle. I always say that you should try to weigh your cattle before they leave the farm and to ensure that the factory knows that they are weighed. Farmers that have begun to do this often remark that they feel it makes a significant difference.
Steer quotes are generally in the 395-405c/kg range. Farmers are holding out for a minimum of 400c/kg before agreeing to sell with quite a few securing bases of 405c/kg. Reports suggest that in-spec R-grade bullocks were making up to 414c/kg in the northwest. The in-spec heifers were at 420c/kg in the same plant. Elsewhere, the base for the heifers was varied between 410-420c/kg but as high as 425c/kg was said to be achieved in the northeast.
The best I heard paid for a mix of good young bulls was 420c/kg but similar to the 415c/kg I reported on last week it was a case of a bit of one-upmanship between two plants on the Western seaboard. We could do with a bit more of that.
Otherwise, the U grades are generally being quoted for at 410-415c/kg with the Rs at 400-410c/kg. O-grade bulls range between 385-395c/kg.
Demand for the cull cows remains strong. Heavy U-grade Continental cows made up to 380c/kg in the east with 370c/kg mentioned for the northeast and the northwest. Some plants are quoting 360c/kg. Quotes and prices for the Rs vary from 350-370c/kg while the Os range from 325-350c/kg.