Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 22 September 2017

Processors are working three seperate base price regimes

BEEF

BEST IN SHOW: The top price of €10,200 at the Charolais Christmas Cracker Show and Sale was paid for Roughan Harold. Bred by Pat McClean, Roughan, Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal, and shown by Kieran McLoughlin, the bull was bought by Pat Clarke from Ballinasloe, Co Galway
BEST IN SHOW: The top price of €10,200 at the Charolais Christmas Cracker Show and Sale was paid for Roughan Harold. Bred by Pat McClean, Roughan, Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal, and shown by Kieran McLoughlin, the bull was bought by Pat Clarke from Ballinasloe, Co Galway

Joe Healy

Over the last few days the President was turning on the lights, the ESB were copping on and allowing them to stay on, but our beef processors are keeping returns firmly rooted in the dark ages.

The farmers' anger I mentioned a few weeks ago has only got worse and I am pretty sure that most of them are now at a point that they would support action against the processors.

The €1/kg difference between our steer beef and what is being paid to farmers for similar beef in the market where over half of our beef ends up is a big issue.

When the QPS was brought in this time four years ago, one of the selling points for it was that we would have one base price that all prices would be worked off.

In an attempt to promote Quality Assurance (QA), there would be a QA bonus and this bonus would be the difference between QA stock and non-QA stock.

Now, many factories have moved to three base prices. They have a base for QA cattle, another base for over-age cattle and a third base for non-QA stock.

QA under-age steers are generally at 400c/kg this week. Non-QA and overage steers are anywhere from 380-390c/kg base.

Heifers are at 410c/kg base with the over-age ones being quoted at 400c/kg.

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While there are some suggestions of farmers negotiating more, the majority of prime bullocks and heifers are at base prices of 400c/kg and 410c/kg respectively.

The best of the bulls are making 410c/kg, with the R grades selling between 3 90-400c/kg. O grade Friesians are generally selling at 380-385c/kg.

STRENGTHENED

The quotes and prices for cull cows range from a low of 270c/kg for the P grades up to 350c/kg for the tops.

The estimated kill for last week from the Department of Agriculture stood at 31,800hd.

IFA National Livestock chairman Henry Burns said that, since early November, Sterling has strengthened against the euro, adding to British returns.

At the same time, the British farmer price has held rock solid at the equivalent of almost €5.00/kg.

He added that some of the big processors have attacked the Quality Payment System in a very negative way, attempting to impose dual base pricing and heavily discounting for non-quality assured stock and imposing weight limits.

In addition, Henry Burns said it is extremely frustrating that some of the big factory groups who encouraged farmers to keep bull calves from the dairy herd two years ago are now turning their back on these producers and not even offering to bid on dairy beef bulls.

He added that some plants paid a €4.05 base for steers and €4.15 for heifers, with some top prices of €4.20/kg paid.

He said young bulls are at €4.00/kg with some plants paying €4.10 for U grades and €4.00 for R grades this week.

The cattle trade for the past week was described as slower by Bord Bia as some strengthening in supplies continued to be evident and market demand continues to run behind normal levels for the time of year.

Prices for steers and heifers continued the trends evident last week, with base quotes under the Quality Payment System now making around €4.00-4.05/kg for steers, while trade for heifers was reported at €4.10-4.15/kg.

The trade for cull cows remains under pressure, with quotes for O grades ranging from €3.00-3.20/kg.

SLOWER

In Britain, trade remains slower than normal, but is showing some more positive signs.

Steak cuts are reportedly attracting a better trade, with pre-Christmas buying expected to help over the coming weeks.

Reported cattle prices from the AHDB were steady during the past week, with R4L grade steers averaging at the equivalent of €5/kg, including VAT, for the week ended November 30.

On the continent, there was little change to report during the week. Demand for forequarter cuts remain steady.

Trade for cuts such as fillets is showing signs of improvement in advance of the Christmas period.

However, the market for other hindquarter cuts continues to be seasonally slower.

In France, the R3 young bull price fell by 1c to €4/kg including VAT, while the O3 cow price decreased by 6c to €3.39/kg.

The R3 young bull price fell by 8c to €4.19/kg including VAT, while the O3 cow price lifted by 1c to €2.75/kg.

Irish Independent