Some plants pay off grid for stock
Observing the beef factories so reluctantly increase their quotes is like watching the traffic snaking along in the very poor road conditions of the past 10 days.
In fact, the factories make the cars seem as if they should be getting a fine and two penalty points for speeding.
Such was the anger, frustration and despair at the IFA meeting on the new beef grid pricing system in Tullamore in mid-December, with demands from all over the room for a minimum immediate price rise of 30c/kg.
Despite the processors history in this regard, I for one foolishly hoped, and expected, to see a lot more than a miserable 15-20pc of this increase actually taking place. Even this is probably more to do with supplies than anything else. The estimated kill for last week was around 14,000hd.
The big three are definitely sticking to the grid, but reports suggest that several of the other factories are doing whatever it takes to secure stock. Quite a few of them have bought some cattle on the old system, with prices mentioned at 280c/kg for the O grades, 294c/kg for the Rs and 300c/kg for the Us.
AIBP Clones and Slaney are said to be paying a base of 294c/kg on the grid for bullocks and 297c/kg for heifers.
It is important to remember that the 6c/kg for quality-assured stock is paid on top of those prices. AIBP Nenagh are quoting 290 and 296c/kg for the steers and heifers respectively, but they have paid at least 292c/kg for the steers.
Kepak Athleague is quoting a base of 291c/kg for steers and 297c/kg for heifers, with reports of at least another 3c/kg being achieved if you bargain for it. AIBP and Dawn plants in the west and south are said to also be on those base quotes.