Beef prices barely holding with 5c cut
Like the Waterford defence during the second half of Sunday's clash with Cork, the beef sector appears to be under pressure, even if it is holding out so far. Word is the processors are trying to clip another 5c/kg off the base price and I suppose they had more or less achieved this aim with the heifers last week.
The gap between the heifers and steers is almost closed, with base quotes and tops paid almost identical. The slight difference is probably in the general prices paid with a bigger percentage of the heifers making the 395c/kg base, while the majority of the steers are moving at 390c/kg.
Most farmers are being quoted 390c/kg as the base, but some plants are offering as low as 385c/kg. I heard of farmers in the south, south-east and the midlands securing a base of 395c/kg. Overage steers seem to be ranging from 370-380c/kg. Heifer quotes vary between 390-395c/kg.
The higher amount, while proving a tad tougher to get, is being got with many finishers refusing to sell at any less. As with the steers, the out-of-spec females are running at 10c/kg less. The IFA's Henry Burns accused the factories of using negative propaganda to exert downward pressure on prices. Last week's estimated kill from Department of Agriculture figures showed a kill of 32,824hd.
Bulls under 16 months are securing 380c/kg on the grid. Otherwise, the U grades up to two years are making from 360-375c/kg, with the Rs in a range from 350-360c/kg. Prices for the Os vary from 300-330c/kg. Some plants have cut the cull cow prices by 10c/kg, but farmers are still negotiating from 350-370c/kg for the U grades and from 340-350c/kg for the Rs. The O grades are generally making from 300-310c/kg, with the Ps at 290-300c/kg.
An Bord Bia reported that the beef trade remained steady during the past week, with prices remaining similar to previous weeks on the back of steady demand.
Prices quoted by export meat plants for steers were, on average, between €3.90-3.95/kg on the Quality Payment System. Heifers continued to trade at a base price of between €3.95-4.00/kg.