Martin Coughlan: Factories are beefing up their tactics


Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

Prices for bullocks and heifers remain fixed in recent days week at €3.75 and €3.85/kg respectively.

However, there were some conflicting reports that some plants were trying to open an additional 5c/kg gap where Friesians were concerned.

While kill numbers still remain very high for the time of year, those with heifers and bullocks are not experiencing any significant delays in getting their cattle away despite last week's overall kill hitting 37,715.

The news on the bull side continues to be difficult, apart from poor prices, the issue of getting bulls away continues to be the major headache.

Last week saw prices range from €3.75-3.70/kg for Us, with Rs trading from €3.60-3.50/kg and continental Os making around the €3.40/kg mark, with Friesians 10c/kg less.

Factories appeared to have hardened their approach even more yesterday as those with a genuine interest in bulls appeared reluctant to quote above €3.70/kg for Us. Some reported quotes as low as €3.00/kg were offered last week for Friesian type stock.

These plants were sending a message: "We don't actually want Friesian bulls but if your willing to take €3.00/kg..." That, in effect, is the price of an R grade cull cow.

"The irony is that for the week ending January 19, the Bord Bia figures show that the only section of the numbers table that was back on the same week in 2018 were the young bulls at 5,646 verses 5,908.

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"Steers were at 11,308 as against 10,809 in 2018, with heifers at 11,826 compared to 9,931, while cull cow numbers were up over almost 1,200 to 7,398.

Those factories with a genuine interest in bulls might not be so hard to deal with if you are a regular client.

IFA's beef chair Angus Woods continues to look for compensation for and an aid package for beef finishers ahead of Brexit.

He said the IFA has put forward a case that for every 5c/kg change on the price that Minister Creed needs to secure €20 per head additional direct payment compensation.

ICSA also appear to have adopted a similar strategy with the use of "intervention and aids to private storage" as a means of putting "a realistic floor under the price of beef".

I remember the days of intervention and APS, the days when factories filled the cold stores whether there was a market or not, and then they moved to cut the prices anyway.

Indo Farming

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