Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 March 2018

Beef Trade: Quotes on the rise as factories chase stock

Finishing bullocks
Finishing bullocks
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

FACTORY beef price rises are gradually beginning to gain traction. Numbers of animals slaughtered, while tipping below the 30,000hd per week mark by the end of the first week of this month, are still running at 1,649 ahead of the same week last year.

Actual base quotes at €4.05-4.10/kg for bullocks are 5c/kg ahead of this week last year while the heifer is upwards of 10c/kg ahead of this week last year at €4.20/kg.

So at least the trend is going in the right direction. The story on the bulls is similar with prices for under 22-month stock up by 5-10c/ kg on this time last year at a flat €4.05-4.10/kg for Us and Rs.

Some plants are trying to avoid that €4.10 figure by offering the bare €4.05 and, after a struggle, throwing in the transport. Other sellers are holding tough for €4.15- 4.20/kg with some reportedly refusing €4.12/kg over the weekend.

The under-16 month bull is on a base of €4.05 with again some plants offering transport to tip the scales. Cull cow prices remain strong with Rs on 350-370/kg while Os are still coming in from €3.40-3.50/kg.

The better P grades range from €3.20-3.40 with lesser stock falling away to about €3.00/kg.

The whole issue now, as we enter into the summer will revolve around the availability of numbers.

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I raised this question a couple of weeks ago saying that agents will have orders to scour for stock up and down every byroad. And indeed they have, but as one prominent factory man said to me “don’t count out the big feeders just yet”.

While many of their sheds are almost empty, I’m told that others haven’t started their first draw.

This year’s kill numbers are 2.5pc to date ahead of last year yet the price this week as opposed to last year is anything from 10-15c/kg ahead of 2016.

However, lurking in the wings are the first of the cull cows to come off of grass plus increasing numbers of parlour cows who the dairymen for one reason or another may decide to shed as the summer gets going.

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