Quotes unchanged despite a 5,000hd increase in numbers
Farmers waiting for any significant improvement in cattle prices or a drop in the kill figures are getting a taste of the frustrations of doctors and patients who are waiting for their letters to be read in some of our major hospitals.
Last week's estimated cattle kill was up at 33,400 animals and continued the trend of running at between 4,000 and 5,000 ahead of the same week last year.
Expecting a realistic increase in quotes while the kill is this high is like Galway folk expecting the Liam MacCarthy cup to cross the Shannon this September. It could happen, but then England could beat Les Bleus by 50 points or more next weekend and allow Kidney's men to win the Six Nations too.
For farmers who continued to feed up to now in the hope of an improvement, this is extremely disappointing. Figures for the numbers of cattle in the different age groups circulated last December allied to the high kills, and the increased numbers being exported live had those farmers justifiably expecting that, at this stage, prices would be much better than they are.
However, the base quotes for today show little change, with 294c/kg being the norm for the steers and 300c/kg for the heifers. The QA payment of 6c/kg is paid on top of this.
On a positive note, some of the plants that were quoting less than those figures for the past few weeks have moved up to join the rest, and quite a few agents freely admitted yesterday morning that it was getting a bit more difficult to secure numbers as farmers have dug in their heels and refused to sell at the present prices.
Donegal still heads the field with its 314c/kg and 322c/kg for the QA in-spec R and U grades. For the young bulls in those grades they are paying 302c/kg and 311c/kg respectively.
Factories mentioned at the 294c/kg base included Moyvalley, Slaney, Liffey, Dunbia, Duleek and most of the AIBP, Dawn and Kepak plants. Liffey is staying at this figure for the heifers as well, while Dawn Ballyhaunis is on 297c/kg. In general, the rest of those mentioned are quoting the 300c/kg base.