Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Beef grid could be back in force with some farmers unhappy with accuracy

 

Full pens at the mart. Photo Brian Farrell
Full pens at the mart. Photo Brian Farrell
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

Ahead of yesterday's Waterford versus Tipperary championship match the expectation was that the Déise could expect a very thorough examination from the Premier County.

The score at the final whistle was 2-22 apiece, but as we all know that's only half the story.

The word as last weekend approached was that men with beef to sell could likewise expect a thorough examination when it came to price.

Stories surfaced last Thursday morning that cows were going "to get a pull" of 10c/kg.

Also doing the rounds were rumours that the grid would be re-established in full force and that flat pricing was now out of the question, but these rumours, like that final score Limerick also tell only half the story.

It is expected that when factory bosses open their gates this morning they will still attempt to pull cow prices. How that will go is a matter of speculation.

If greater cow numbers do appear prices could slip. For the moment I'd speculate that until that actually happens last week's cow prices could very well be this week's cow prices.

That puts Rs in at between €3.90-3.70/kg, with Os on €3.70-3.60 and better Ps between €3.60-3.50/kg. More basic P grades vary below this depending on an factories' needs.

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Bullocks held well last week with the general run of base prices around the €4.20-4.25/kg mark, although €4.30/kg also paid. Up to €4.40/kg was also reported as having been agreed in relation to deals done that included bonuses on Aberdeen Angus. Heifers saw their base hold at €4.25-4.30/kg with €4.35/kg reported.

Bulls were also steady, with U grades between 16 and 24 months making up to €4.25/kg, while the R grade base for under 16 month bulls ranged from €4.15/kg to €4.20/kg.

Questions continue to be raised by farmers as to the accuracy of the current grading machines. One winter finisher I met recently raised a subtle yet very significant point.

The fat produced by grass finished cattle is of a yellow /orange colour, while that produced when finishing stock on meals tends to be of a fine white colour.

The grading machines were initially calibrated from data derived from a study at Dawn Middleton in July/August 1999.

He wondered, are the grading machines' fat-scoring templates from that earlier time now out of date because meal feeding has become so much more extensive.

Are some low fat scores the result of the machines now not being able to read fat depth because of the lack of a clearly definable colour profile?

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