Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Thursday 22 February 2018

Beef Prices: Kill figures up by 11pc on 2016

Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

QUOTES of €4.05/kg were being reported yesterday by one southern agent. And in the midlands and west, €4.10/kg was the going rate. I was amazed then to be told by another southern factory agent that “ we are buying all the bullocks we want at €4.00/kg”.

That is the equivalent of Marine Le Penn waking up and believing that she and not Emmanuel Macron had won the French presidency — in a word, delusional.

For heifers, €4.20/kg is now becoming more the norm with some €4.15/kg still about. We are gradually getting to the point where numbers have to tighten. Bord Bia figures for the week ending April 29 show that we haven’t arrived at that stage yet.

The overall kill for that week was 31,509 as against 27,677 for the same week last year — that’s a difference of 3,382 or about 11pc of an increase.

Those same figures show that the increase was not confined to just one section — it came across all sections with everything from bullocks to heifers, to bulls to cows all showing increased numbers versus the same week last year.

However you can only kill the bullock once, as they say, which means that a further 31,500 shed cattle are now gone out of the system leaving factories to start all over again this week sourcing supplies.

But shed cattle there still are, up byroads and lanes in every parish — the question is will there be enough to replace the now dwindling feedlot stocks? Those feedlots have contributed in no small way to Department of Agriculture figures that show the average price paid in the week ending April 29 for R3 grade bullocks was €4.17/ kg with R3 heifers averaging €4.29/kg.

The IFA’s Angus Woods is confident the trade will continue to strengthen saying that there is “strong demand for cattle from factories, live exporters and also at the marts”.

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The price of bulls appears to be also strengthening with last week’s base of €4.05-4.10/ kg seeming to be now stretching out to a possible €4.15/kg in places, especially for those heavier over 16-month cases with both Us and Rs being flatpriced at €4.15/kg in places.

The under 16-month bull is more likely to be priced back at grid base price of €4.10/kg with some still offering €4.05/ kg as the base for under month stock if they believe the seller will take it.

The cow continues to trundle along very nicely with Os on anything from €3.40-3.45/kg, P’s at €3.30-3.40 and Rs in the €3.50-3.70 range


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