The Bord Bia cattle kill figures for the first full week of 2017 raises questions as to whether the big weekly kills in November through December has left a deficit in the system.
At 22,707hd, the kill is down 12.5pc on the first week of 2016, yet as last week ended there was no sign of factory bosses loosening their purse strings in any major meaningful way.
By yesterday morning they had “ found” another 5c/kg, with reports coming in of those who had taken €3.80/kg for bullocks and €3.90/kg for heifers last week being offered €3.85 and €3.95/kg respectively this week for their next offerings.
The word is that factories wanted stock and this seems borne out by the cull cow trade at the marts, where, as one man put it, “factory agents were beating each other up on price.” Cull cow prices at the factories are fairly steady to improved.
Prices range from €2.80/kg to €3.00/kg for the normal run of Ps, to €3.30-3.35/kg for Rs, with Os averaging €3.10/kg.
The P+3 comes in at €3.00/kg or €3.05/ kg on bigger loads.
The trade for bulls remains more or less the same as it has done for the last number of weeks with bulls up to 24 months selling from €3.90/kg for Us back to €3.70/kg for Os, with €3.80/kg the price of the R grade animal.
And €3.80/kg also remains the base price off of which bulls under 16 months continue to be bought.
With the number of young bulls showing the greatest decline in the Bord Bia kill figures – back almost 1,300 on the first week of 2016 –I wonder what the future holds.