Farm Ireland

Thursday 16 August 2018

'Factories don't know where they are going to get finished cattle' - Beef prices to rise 'significantly'


Andrew O'Carroll from Paulstown Co Kilkenny. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Andrew O'Carroll from Paulstown Co Kilkenny. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

While there was no general forward movement on prices over the week, some with market-specific stock succeeded over the weekend in pushing the price boundaries.

The majority of deals continue to see bullocks being base priced at €4.00-4.05/kg, with heifers making from €4.10-4.15/kg. Those lesser prices appear to be more prevalent across the south.

Bulls in general see U grades making up to €4.10/kg with R's at €4.00 and O's at €3.90/kg; again, some plants in the south are quoting 5c/kg less.

Southern shed finishers are no more an easy touch than finishers anywhere else and I don't see them rolling over easily.

Cow prices remain firm yet again, with the better quality R grade making €3.70-3.80/kg, with O's ranging from €3.50-3.60/kg, although some of the lesser O-minus grades are slipping back to €3.40/kg. Your better P is also on €3.40/kg with other P's back to €3.20/kg.

IFA's Angus Woods is backing a potential "significant" price rise, saying: "Procurement managers and agents are saying that, based on their usual supply lines, they don't know where they are going to get finished cattle in 10 days to two weeks' time and they expect prices will rise significantly."

His optimism is to some degree supported by the latest Short Term Outlook Report issued by the European Commission.

It predicts a decline in overall EU beef production during 2018, based on figures that show the overall suckler herd in the EU15 declined by 60,000 head or 0.5pc between December 2016 and December 2017.

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Of possibly greater immediate benefit to those with stock to sell over the next month is the continuing strength of the UK market, with Mr Woods saying: "Prices in our main export market the UK are now equivalent to €4.47/kg."

Another positive is that the kill a month ago was 36,932, while last week it was 32,721.

ICSA president Patrick Kent has challenged the meat factories to step up and help farmers affected by the fodder crisis?

"We've seen the co-ops taking action in importing and distributing fodder. We've seen marts help out," he said.

"Meat processors on the other hand have so far not come up with any actions to help their equally pressurised suppliers.

"They could provide feed vouchers or use their network of contacts in Europe or the UK to help source fodder."

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