Farm Ireland

Sunday 22 July 2018

400-405c/kg base quote for steers

Joe Healy

Whatever about Angela Merkel's phone, I bet farmers would love to tap the phones in beef factories to hear what's happening. Despite strong demand, all the plants are digging in their heels on prices.

The bank holiday and wet weather are helping the processors this week but farmers are adamant that they will not accept low quotes or prices.

This is a critical week as far as the beef trade is concerned. Buying for the Christmas trade is about to kick off and it's imperative that processors are not allowed to reduce prices in the meantime.

Quotes for steers are generally 400-405c/kg. Farmers are securing base prices of 405-410c/kg but securing the higher amount requires a bit of work.

Heifer base quotes are generally 410-415c/kg, with hardened sellers holding out for base prices of up to 420c/kg. Over the past week some finishers have negotiated base prices of 425c/kg.

The best I heard for young bulls was 425c/kg for good bulls to travel north but I did hear also of 420c/kg for heavy bulls in the midlands.

U grade bulls are making 410-415c/kg in most of the plants, even though quite a few of them are only quoting 405-410c/kg.

Farmers are refusing to part with their R grade bulls at less than 400c/kg even though plants are at times quoting as low as 390c/kg.

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A number of farmers have secured 405c/kg for their Rs. Quotes for the O grades range from 375c/kg to 385c/kg, with prices of 380-390c/kg. IFA livestock chairman Henry Burns said factories were very active for stock, paying 400-410c/kg for bullocks and 410-425c/kg for heifers. Flat prices of 410-415c/kg have been paid for O grade Herefords.


Farmers with numbers of heavy fleshed cull cows are in a strong position to bargain from. Those who are doing this are achieving prices of up to 390c/kg.

In the main, U grade cows are making 360-390c/kg, with the Rs moving at 340-370c/kg. Prices for O grades are 325-350c/kg, while 310-325c/kg is being agreed for P grade cows.

Bord Bia reported that the cattle trade improved over the past week as supplies began to fall. Trade was helped by ongoing tight supplies across the UK and key European markets, with increased competition for supplies from Northern Ireland plants also helping trade.

Base quotes under the Quality Payment System were €4.00-4.05/kg for steers and €4.10-4.15/kg for heifers. The trade for cull cows remained steady, with quotes for O grades generally €3.25-3.40/kg.

Cattle supplies for the year to date are running almost 95,000 head above last year's levels. Steers and cows continue to account for most of the increase in supplies.

In Britain, trade is reported as steady, with most parts of the carcase still in good demand. Some easing in demand for steak cuts is evident.

Seasonal switching to round cuts and forequarter product continues to be noticeable. Reported prices from the AHDB eased during the week, with GB R4L steer price now making 401.6p/kg (equivalent to €4.94/kg including VAT) for the week ending October 19.

On the continent, the seasonal shift towards forequarter cuts from hindquarter cuts continues. The best demand reported is for chucks. Demand has been boosted for forequarter cuts by promotional activity.

Meanwhile, the latest CSO June livestock survey showed the national cattle herd to be up by 2pc. The number of cattle on Irish farms on June 1 stood at 6.9m head. Within the breeding herd, the number of dairy cows increased by 2pc to 1.16m head, reflecting the move by some producers to expand their dairy operation in advance of the ending of dairy quotas in 2015. Suckler cow numbers were unchanged at 1.15m head.

Within the rest of the cattle herd, the survey results showed a rise of around 5pc or 36,000hd in the number of cattle over two years of age. Numbers in the one to two year age group were 9pc or 151,000 head higher, reflecting a 6pc increase in calf births during 2012. The number of cattle under one year old fell by almost 3pc to 1.97m head, reflecting a stronger live export trade in the early part of 2013.

Irish Independent