Farm Ireland

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Bargain hard to keep up positive moves on price


Joe Healy

Prices and quotes for beef have moved on to such unfamiliar levels this week that I thought I might have to get onto the Department of Finance to get one of its top officials to confirm that the pence/euro equivalents were correctly calculated.

Then I realised that the department's expertise is concentrated on the billions -- and beef farmers still have a long way to go to get there.

However, to reach any destination you have to start in the right direction and beef quotes and prices are definitely moving positively this week.

These moves have been helped by price increases across the EU and the kill for the past week at an estimated 30,450hd compared to the 35,800hd for the same week last year.

Prices in Donegal alone have increased by 28-30c/kg over the past month. This leaves the in-spec R-grade steers at 395c/kg today, with U grades at 406c/kg. The R and U-grade heifers are at 400 and 412c/kg respectively, the O+ types are at 392c/kg and bullocks are on 386c/kg.

Elsewhere, the base for the steers is generally 370-375c/kg, with reports of base prices agreed in places of 378-380c/kg.

Heifer base prices were 380-390c/kg and are in demand. Reports suggest that up to 395c/kg was offered for a large number of good quality heifers.

I have heard of R and U bulls making up to 400c/kg for a mix of each grade. A big variation of quotes and prices sees Us at 375-400c/kg, with Donegal at the higher end.

Also Read

The Rs are on 370-390c/kg, with the Os at 358-380c/kg. The key is to get a few different plants or agents to quote and then bargain on price and extras, regardless of what type of cattle you are selling.

It also appears that quite a lot of reasonably light carcassed Friesian steers are being slaughtered at the strong prices, with farmers reckoning that a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, given that many of them would normally feed those on to next spring.

The IFA's Michael Doran said that strengthening EU markets and prices have helped to drive on the quotes here to 390c/kg for the steers and 400c/kg for the heifers.

Top quality heavy U-grade cows are hitting 350c/kg in Moyvalley and Donegal, with Kildare also close to this figure. R grades are at 319-344c/kg, depending on weight. Prices for the O grades go at 314-339c/kg, while P+ cows are on 302- 328c/kg.

The trade in Britain remained firm due to tight supplies, according to Bord Bia. The best trade was for forequarter cuts, with demand said to be sluggish for steak cuts.

Reported cattle prices from the AHDB have firmed slightly, with GB R4L grade steers averaging 340.4p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 414c/kg including VAT deadweight) for the week ended October 29.

On the Continent, trade continued to pick up across most of the key markets, with prices reflecting this pattern. In Germany, R3 young bulls increased by 6c/kg to €3.96/kg.

Indo Farming

Top Stories