Another 5c/kg cut from steer base quotes
While the Revenue launched a big raid on a house in Tipperary last week, the beef factories are continuing to raid every beef finisher in the country.
They seem relentless in their attempt to get steer base quotes down to €4/kg. If beef farmers can afford to travel to Galway Races this week, their best hope of coming into a bit of money would be to back a few good horses. At current prices, they are losing substantially on beef due to the huge costs throughout the past year. A further 5c/kg has been pared off steer base quotes to a range of 410-415c/kg. It is a similar story for heifers who are now at 420-425c/kg. Some finishers are securing a tad more.
A number of farmers expressed their dissatisfaction to me recently regarding the base price for non-quality assured cattle, which can be 10-15c/kg behind the base for quality assured (QA) stock. They maintained that they were losing not only the 12c/kg QA but also a further 15c/kg, leading to a total loss of 27c/kg or approximately €100/animal if the animal is not quality assured. This is excessive but there is a lesson in there for farmers too. The best of the bulls on offer are making 410c/kg while the R grades are generally around the €4/kg. O-grade bulls are making between 370-380c/kg.
Cow prices have held reasonably steady, with U grades commanding prices of 360c/kg. R-grade cows are at 330-350c/kg. Prices for Os range from 320c/kg to 330c/kg. P grades are at 300-320c/kg.
At a meeting with factory bosses yesterday, IFA president, John Bryan, expressed the growing anger of livestock farmers at the massive drop in cattle prices over the last five weeks.
He claimed the factories' action was sapping confidence from the entire sector and would result in an exodus of suckler cow farmers.
Livestock chairman Henry Burns maintained the attack on cattle prices had left farmers feeling they were paying for the costs of the horse meat scandal.
He accused beef factories of cutting cattle prices by 35-50c/kg across the different categories or €130 on steers, €150 on heifers and €145 for cows since early/mid June.