Cattle buyers seize opportunity to tighten the screw on farmers
It would be really nice if I could tie the classic hurling that was played over the weekend to some positive comments about the direction of factory cattle prices - but I can't.
What I can say is that it looks like factory prices are about to turn around, just as Limerick did against Cork.
If the beef trade was a hurling match, the beating farmers are taking at the hands of the factories could see some decide to hang up their hurleys permanently when the final whistle blew.
Some I have spoken to have told me they will be reviewing their entire beef enterprise when they get the last of this year's grass beef away before deciding whether to tackle the prospect of buying replacements or doing some limited winter finishing.
The price of fattening bulls at present I'm told runs at €3.96/hd per day, with that figure covering 12kg of meal and 3kg of straw only. And I'm told that cost will rise.
With the country short of fodder and all meals heading ever upwards, the factories turned the screw another notch over the weekend and effectively wiped another 5c/kg off their quotes for bullocks and heifers.
The prices I heard yesterday had bullocks on €3.85-3.90/kg, with heifers at €3.95-4.00/kg.
The bull job is equally under further pressure this week with less than 24-month U grades at €4.00/kg, while quotes for R grades started as low as €3.80/kg.