Farm Ireland

Monday 18 December 2017

Bargain to improve 330-336c/kg base

Joe Healy

If Sile Seoige was selling beef cattle over the past week rather than going to the Kylie concert, I don't think her experience would encourage her to tweet her excitement to the world.

Quotes and prices remain pretty stagnant as factories seem reluctant to move from the 330-336c/kg quotes that appear to be the general range for steers, while the heifers are at 336-342c/kg.

However, when a bit of competition arrives it is obvious that the processors have the room and the ability to give 4-6c/kg more than they would otherwise. Towards the end of last week, such competition in the east and southeast saw plants pay a base of 340c/kg for the steers, with up to 347c/kg paid for heifers in the northeast. Most of the plants are still quoting 336c/kg for the heifers. In-spec heifers are making 350c/kg for the Rs and 358c/kg for the Us up in Donegal Meats, with the bullocks 3c/kg back from those figures.

Depending on where you go with your bulls, you could be quoted or paid anything from 330-344c/kg for your R grades. It is up to you to bargain for as close to the higher amount as you can. The Us are similar, with a range from 336-350c/kg being paid. If you put this 14c/kg difference on a 450kg carcass you could lose €63/hd.

Prices and quotes I heard of would suggest that the best plants for young bulls are from the northeast down to the southeast.

The IFA's Michael Doran said that prices were finally showing signs of improvement, with a tightening of supplies added to by strong demand in the run-up to Easter. Having said that, last week's estimated kill showed little signs of a tight supply with more than 32,000 animals slaughtered.


The cow trade is the one bright area as good, heavy R and U-grade cows made up to €319c/kg. Most plants are quoting 280-291c/kg with a top price of 302-310c/kg. O+ cows over 320kg are making 305c/kg in Donegal, with the best making up to 311c/kg. The majority of plants are quoting from 280c/kg up for cows, with 280-291c/kg being the general run and up to 302c/kg for the better grading stock.

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There was little change to report on the cattle trade last week, according to Bord Bia, as finished cattle supplies continue to run below the same period last year.

Quotes for R-grade steers under the Quality Payment System were generally making €3.30-3.36/kg. Heifer quotes were running at €3.36-3.42/kg. These prices exclude the 6c on in-spec, Quality Assured stock. The cow trade also remained unchanged, with the O-grade cow typically making €2.80-2.91/kg.

On a year-to-date basis, supplies are running 8pc lower than the same period last year.

In Britain the trade was reportedly as firm over the past week as a result of tight supplies and steady demand. Best trade reported was for steak and forequarter cuts.

Reported cattle prices from the AHDB increased slightly, with GB R4L grade steers averaging 288.2p/kg deadweight (equivalent to €3.45/kg including VAT dw) for the week ended March 19.

On the Continent, trade is expected to pick up somewhat over the coming weeks in the run-up to Easter. The best trade continues to be for forequarters, with steak demand reported to have picked up.

In Germany, the R3 young bull price is averaging €3.76/kg, with the O3 cow price increasing by 5/c to €2.90/kg.

Irish steer hinds are making around €5.05/kg in France and R3 young bulls are averaging €3.70/kg in Italy.

Indo Farming