Farm Ireland

Monday 25 March 2019

Factories offer hope as quotes inch upwards

Castlerea Mart. Lot Number 72D. Weight 490Kg. DOB 24/11/17. Heifer. CHX. Price €1140. Photo Brian Farrell
Castlerea Mart. Lot Number 72D. Weight 490Kg. DOB 24/11/17. Heifer. CHX. Price €1140. Photo Brian Farrell
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

A bull and heifer finisher from the south east gave me some revealing information over the weekend about where his prices are at for in-spec stock.

Then Des Morrison, the ICMSA’s livestock chairman from Mayo was on my phone with very similar figures.

Viewed together they hinted at something far more interesting than just the abilities of a farmer or two to squeeze an extra few cents out of the system in one area.

Both men told me that hard bargaining last week had pushed the price for in-spec heifers in their areas from €3.85/kg to €3.90/kg, with some deals seeing transport added.

Both men also said that while €3.50-3.60/kg is the general run for U and R grade bulls, up to €3.70/kg has been paid for Us, with Rs moving to €3.60/kg.

Granted you may have to be a larger feeder, but when these figures begin to leak out, it is an indication that something has changed.

While those higher prices for bulls are being paid to some, many finishers are still reporting delays of two to three weeks in getting bulls away. O grade bulls seem steady at €3.40 with Friesians on €3.20-3.30/kg. The message from the ICMSA yesterday was that in-spec stock — heifers or bullocks — are becoming scarce, with prices hardening by 5c/kg.

It appears that the uniform price carpet that has lain across the country for months has at last begun to fray around the edges.

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With 36,047 killed last week you’d think the factories would have all the beef they need.


They have lots of product, but it seems that all those supermarket requirements that so often bite farmers on the ass — age, movements and quality assurance — have combined to reduce the processors’ pool of eligible stock, forcing them to compete for what is available.

What all this means is that in-spec bullocks are now trading at €3.75-3.80/kg, with in spec heifers at €3.85-3.90/kg.

Cow prices were reported as unchanged yesterday.

Success in the cattle business has always been a two-way street. And the current very strong mart trade is put down by many to the fact that feedlots, independent or otherwise, are restocking very strongly.

Indo Farming