More misery as base price for steers slips back to €3.50/kg
Trade continues to be very difficult. Reports from across the country yesterday indicated that a base price of €3.50/kg for bullocks has become the norm, with indications that the ABP group were attempting to pull weaker sellers back to €3.45/kg.
Base prices for heifers are generally at €3.60/kg but have in some places reduced to €3.55/kg.
The other side of the equation is supply, and the kill number rose to 35,046 last week.
Yet I had reports that cattle bought on Friday were scheduled for slaughter on Monday, with another farmer telling me his stock purchased on Saturday were to be delivered on Sunday evening.
All deals saw the grid base set at €3.50/kg. These arrangements don't necessarily indicate a tightening of supplies, but they do clearly show that processors need a continuous supply of prime stock.
What many plants don't want at present - and they are not slow to say so - is bulls. Base prices for under-16-month bulls to go on the grid were at best €3.50/kg yesterday.
Quotes for bulls up to 24 months see U grades range from €3.40-3.60/kg, with R grades €3.30-3.50/kg. Those lower R and U quotes seem to apply where dairy-type stock dominate; O+ are on €3.20/kg, O- at €3.10/kg and P grades at €3.00/kg - little better than quotes for cull cows.
Yesterday, the better P3 cow was on €2.70/kg, O grades at €2.80-2.90/kg and R grades €2.90-3.10/kg.
It could be worse: recent department figures show deadweight cattle prices in Germany averaging €3.43/kg compared to €3.59/kg here.
The challenges for the beef and suckler community keep coming. Last week it was the turn of the climate change advisory council to have a go.
Previously, there was the Mercosur deal, discussions on the €100m beef market disturbance package alongside the 5pc compulsory herd reduction, and the threat posed by veganism, with attendant discussions around animal welfare.
Minister Creed is probably wondering where it has all gone wrong after his car was delayed by members of the Beef Plan Movement as he approached the Aurivo dairy ingredients plant in Ballaghaderreen last Friday for an official engagement.
Attempts by the protesters to get the minister to engage with them on the state of the beef industry while his car was halted were met with sealed windows and silence.
Away from the comfortable surroundings of Leinster House and the security of well-crafted Dáil replies, his refusal to engage delivered the wrong message.
Yesterday the Beef Plan Movement was in action again as members protested outside six meat plants across the country.
More extensive protests are planned for today. It is understood that none of the plants have been or will be blockaded.
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