Tight supplies sees 5c/kg lift in beef prices
“Cattle are just scarce” were the words of more than one factory agent to me recently. While you can never paint a picture with just one colour, so too with the factory trade.
There is little doubt that cattle are scarce but regional variations add some colour to the price picture which changes the further up the country you go.
Bullock prices as of yesterday were working off of a €3.85- 3.90/kg base in the south to €3.90-3.95/kg in the midlands and west. Heifers appear to be more uniform with €4.00-4.05/kg the general run across the country, although several agents reported “ undisclosed” or “private deals” being done.
There are also other angles to the trade, depending on the type of finisher you are. There are rumours of different deals being done with larger fulltime beef finishers - many of whom have pre-set price contracts that operate on bonuses above official quotes - and farmers with beef as second string enterprise?
With the sun shining, grass growing and cattle to buy for grass the pressure is starting to mount.
The question now is will farmers and finishers sell or hold out for further increases?
It’s often a toss-up as to which is more important - selling as quickly and as best you can and getting out to the marts to buy replacements before their prices begin to go totally out of bounds, or toughing it out and trying to squeeze all you can out of the factories while hoping the mart trade doesn’t go ballistic in the mean time.