Farm Ireland

Monday 19 February 2018

Bargain on price to get most from processors


The negative propaganda and unnecessary downward pressure processors are attempting to exert on the trade do little to promote optimism, especially among finishers.

The prices are not under anywhere near the pressure of the Mayo backs trying to mark the 'Gooch' in Croke Park on Sunday. This is probably due to farmers refusing to take lower prices, and there are plenty of examples to show that shopping around and bargaining is paying dividends when you see some farmers selling steers at low base quotes of 350c/kg, while others are securing up to 10c/kg more.

The gap in heifers is even bigger, with some accepting as low as 357c/kg base on the same day as other finishers negotiated up to 372c/kg flat for under- and overage R and U grades.

Generally, the base quote for the steers is in the 350-355c/kg bracket, with actual prices paid ranging from 352c/kg to 360c/kg. Quotes for the heifers vary from 357c/kg to 364c/kg.

Prices are at 360-370c/kg, with some flat prices above this being bargained for, and secured for, larger numbers.

Donegal are on 355c/kg, 364c/kg, 372c/kg and 381c/kg for the O-, O+, R and U-grade steers respectively, with the heifers at 3c/kg more.

Their bull prices are at 345c/kg for the O-, 358c/kg for the O+, 367c/kg for the Rs and 375c/kg for the U grades. Elsewhere, the U-grade bull quotes range from 361c/kg to 370c/kg, with the Rs at 355-358c/kg.

A flat price for a mix of Rs and Us of 378c/kg agreed early last week is being secured for bulls to be killed later this week. Quotes for the Os are at 344-350c/kg.

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Commenting on the trade, the IFA's Michael Doran said that, despite the lower quotes, factories were paying 360c/kg base for steers and 370c/kg for heifers. He added that the British price continued to rise, with the equivalent of 387c/kg on offer at the moment.

Good, heavy R and U-grade cows are making up to 327-336c/kg in places, with Rs elsewhere at 314-330c/kg. Prices for Os run at 300-314c/kg, while 294-300c/kg is to be had for the P+ cows.

Trade in Britain remained steady, Bord Bia reports. This reflects ongoing tight supplies. Prices are reportedly strengthening across all parts of the carcass, with no evidence of weakening.

Cattle prices from the AHDB have firmed, with GB R4L grade steers averaging Stg322.3p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 371.6c/kg deadweight) for the week ended August 13.

On the Continent, promotions are helping to maintain demand across the key export markets. Some restocking is expected to occur next week as the holiday season comes to an end. Relatively tight supplies are helping maintain trade in a number of the key markets.

The latest forecasts released by Eblex for the British beef sector show a tightening in finished cattle supplies for the remainder of this year and into the next year following a strong increase in disposals during the early part of this year.

For the first half of this year, British cattle supplies were more than 9pc higher at 1.4m head. Most of the increase was evident in cow and adult bull supplies, which were 22pc stronger at 302,000hd due to higher feed costs and some producers shifting towards arable production. Prime cattle supplies for the period were 6pc higher at 1.1m head.

For the remainder of this year, British cattle supplies are forecast to fall 4pc to just over 1.3m head.

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