Farm Ireland

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Surge in national kill does little to dampen demand

Joe Healy

Published 17/05/2011 | 05:00

Beef prices might not yet have reached the height of Jedward's hair but quotes are up again by as much as 6c/kg. The real significance of this is that the processors felt obliged to do this despite an increase in the national kill of 1,500hd compared with last week.

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It is an understatement to say that there is fierce competition between the plants at the moment for stock, with a few finishers reaping the benefits of being the next one in line after one plant has out-bid another for a number of cattle. There are plenty of cases around the country of 'an eye for an eye' between the plants. I'm aware of a factory's offer of 375c/kg being outbid by another offering 378c/kg for one lot of stock with the tables turned between the same two plants for another farmer's cattle. Quotes do not seem to have dropped anywhere and a number of the plants have increased their offers. While the estimated kill week-on-week was up at 29,171hd, it was still over 2,000hd down on the same week last year.

Donegal is currently paying 395c/kg and 386c/kg for the in-spec U and R-grade heifers, with the steers at 3c/kg less for each grade. Quotes and prices are every way around the country and while some are offering as low as 358c/kg for R-grade bullocks with others at 360-365c/kg, the actual prices being paid are often off a base of 365-370c/kg.

The heifers are a similar story, with 365-370c/kg being quoted as a base despite 370-380c/kg deals being negotiated. Some flat prices of 383c/kg have been got for mainly R-grade heifers and U-grade bulls, with as high as 390c/kg flat paid for heifers in the north east. A flat price of 380c/kg for good, young bulls was paid in the east. Donegal is paying 372c/kg for R-grade bulls and 380c/kg for the Us. Quotes at other plants were 347-356c/kg for the Os, 358-370c/kg for the Rs and 370-378c/kg for the Us.

The IFA's livestock chairman, Michael Doran, said that the tight supplies had factories scouring the country for stock and having to move upwards on quotes, with 390c/kg being paid for heifers and bulls.

R-grade cull cows have secured prices of 350c/kg in the north east, while a flat price of 342c/kg was also got for a mix of O and R grades up in that area. Quotes for P+ cows are around 302-308c/kg, O grades are at 308-322c/kg, with 314-336c/kg being quoted for the Rs. Quotes for the U grades are ranging from 342-350c/kg.

Bord Bia reported that strong demand for manufacturing beef and the fifth quarter was helping to drive on the trade.

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