Martin Coughlan: Stress, dread and anxiety - a beef man's lot
Finishers with stock to sell must be struggling with the feeling of dread that comes when trying to do business in an over-supplied market, as the figures continue to illustrate.
Last week's kill was 37,828, 1,162 ahead of the previous week and a massive 3,762 up on the same week last year.
A prominent Midlands finisher said of the situation around the cattle game, "uncertainty is the word, and that uncertainty has been planted".
'Uncertainty' is one word but three others I keep hearing more and more are stress, dread and anxiety.
The stress of increasing feed bills, the dread of possibly losing a price because animals are in danger of going over-age, and the anxiety of 'the wait' - the wait for the call from the factory agent, the wait for confirmation that they are all dead and there are no issues, and finally the wait for the cheque, which of course will be eaten alive by outstanding bills once it's lodged.
If the cattle trade was a film it would be an Alfred Hitchcock production.
Prices for bullocks are static again this week at €3.75/kg, with heifers also unchanged at €3.85/kg.
Cow prices also remain largely stable, with R grades hovering around the €3.00/kg mark, with a shake of €3.05/kg also reported. O grades vary from €2.70-2.80/kg, while your better P on a stand-alone basis will get you around €2.60/kg, or possibly a little better.