Are beef price rises in the offing?
The short message on cattle prices this week is that they appear stable. Bullocks were being almost universally quoted at €3.90/kg yesterday morning, with heifers steady at €4.00/kg.
Prices for bulls saw the general run of stock sell for €3.95/kg for Us and Rs were €3.85/kg. Os were being quoted at €3.70-3.75/kg.
There is a caveat to those bull prices, however, as factories in the west and north are more anxious for stock. I'm told you can add 5c/kg to all of the above, thus giving a price spread from O-U of €4.00-4.80/kg.
Cow prices are getting a "little squeezed" in places with variations in prices from one factory to the next running as high as 10-20c/kg across the various grades.
However, the base line for those factories who are up to the job appears to be €3.20-3.30/kg for P+s, €3.40 for Os and €3.60/kg for Rs with Us at €3.80.
I've had reports that some plants in the west allowed themselves run a little tight on supplies last week and pushed the price of heifers up to €4.05/kg.
Those same plants appear to have gotten all their ducks in a row over the weekend and are now back at €4.00/kg.
The IFA's Angus Woods says that price rises might be possible. "Based on returns from the UK, which are the equivalent of €4.40/kg and also strong returns across Europe, there is significant market potential for factories to lift prices."