New pricing structure as factories turn on the charm
Around the turn of the year, I heard that some factory bosses had instructed their agents to find out what cattle their clients had in sheds.
The instruction was concise: not what fit cattle finishers had, just what cattle they were feeding long term.
As of last week that long term has become short term; and as a result, the factory boys have gone on a charm offensive and are pricing aggressively, and on occasion imaginatively.
While headline prices are always welcome and give everyone something to aim for, the 'price spread' as reported from a number of sources often more accurately reflects the reality for the majority of those selling.
Last week the price spread among factory agents remained steady: most plants were still quoting last week's €4.10kg for bullocks, with the top of the pyramid being €4.15/kg.
Base prices for heifers continue to move between €4.15-4.25/kg.
Prices for plainer cattle - ie, the Friesian-type bullock - have seen an unusual development in some quarters: the 'flat price grid'.
It works like this: you start by deciding the minimum price you are willing to take on the grid and put it as a requirement when fixing the base price.