Quotes unchanged but another 5c/kg is achievable once you dig in.
The factory trade is tight, with farmers just about holding the edge. The processors continue to hold the line at quotes of €5.20/kg for bullocks and €5.25/kg for heifers, but farmer pressure is again forcing them to yield ground on price, with another 5c/kg achievable once you dig in. Having managed to bring prices back over the last month, factories are just about managing to keep a lid on them, but it appears to be knife-edge stuff as supplies ease back to 33,530 cattle for the week ending March 5.
However, with factories reported to be trucking feedlot stock from one end of the country to the other to help “stabilise prices locally” and with flat prices still on the table for Angus and Friesians, the game is possibly just starting to swing away from the processors.
The best I’ve heard for those flat prices is €5.50-5.60/kg for dairy-type Angus, with full loads of Friesian bullocks moving at €5.10/kg flat.
Cull cow and young bull quotes have also dug in. O grade culls range from €4.50-4.70/kg, with P grades on €4.30-4.60/kg and Rs on €4.90-5.00/kg as factories attempt to keep up with the mart trade for those better types.
Under 16-month bulls are working off a base of €5.20-5.25/kg. Bulls up to 24 months see flat prices of €5.45/kg for U grades with Rs on €5.35/kg flat.
Robert de Vere Hunt of Cashel mart said in relation to the Chinese ban on Brazilian beef: “Should the EU suspend Brazilian beef imports the same way the Chinese did because of a BSE case, (A typical) or otherwise?”
Data released by the EU in February shows that imports of beef from South America from January to November last year increased dramatically.
Brazil shipped 79,162t, up 22.2pc on the same period for 2021; Argentina sold 59,134t (up 16.6pc) while Uruguay’s contribution was up 10.2pc to 36,525t. That’s a total of 174,821t.
While the majority would not have paid a high tariff the Mercosur deal allows for 99,000t to come in at a 7.5pc tariff with the 58,100t agreed under the Hilton agreement divided between north and south America.
The food business is international and decisions taken half a world away do affect trade here.
For example, the decision by the New Zealand government to ban outright live sheep exports from April has already seen an increase in imports of sheepmeat into Europe. These extra imports are blamed by the sheep processing sector, in part, for a softening of Irish lamb prices.
With the market in Europe strong, despite a recent downturn in prices, it would be foolish to think that with China at present closed to Brazil, the world biggest exporter of beef will not further target the European market this year.