Beef Prices: Cull cow numbers up as squeeze continues
The pressure on factory cattle prices continues to mount. Figures from Bord Bia show that at 9,038 for the week ending June 30, the number of cull cows going into the food chain are up almost 20pc on the same week in 2017.
The irony is bullock numbers for the same week were back 11pc, and while heifer numbers were back just 213, they were still back. Bulls on the other hand saw their number surpass their kill for the last week of June 2017 by 526 at 4,302.
Overall, however, when you roll the numbers of bullocks, heifers, bulls and cows together, you find that at a kill of 33,332, you are only 348 ahead of the kill for the last week of June 2017.
I deliberately put these figures up before quoting prices this week because I believe it is important that we have some yardstick to measure exactly where we're at.
You could argue that in some ways we are in a false market because of the distortion caused to the supply chain by those extra cows.
I spoke to some in the mart and fattening business over the weekend who maintain that it's important to look at the long game.
Their point being that a lot of those extra cows would have come into the system at the end of the year anyway, and all that's happened is they are being got rid of earlier. I don't disagree, but if it was all about logic, this would be a simple game.
Moving from speculation on how the trade maybe in three to four months, and back to the reality of the here and now, yesterday morning saw quotes for both bullocks and heifer fall another 5c/kg while cows fell 10c/kg.