Bulls should be included in the grid to close the gap in price
Having slaughtered most of our bulls and heifers in recent weeks, it seems very obvious to me that there is a striking unfairness at play over prices paid for young bulls.
In short, we need a quality payment grid for young bulls, similar to that already operating for heifers and steers.
The factory returns from the cattle that were slaughtered show that whereas there might only be a small difference of say 5c/kg in the base price between bulls and heifers, bulls are only paid on the base price while heifers reached the top levels on the gird, resulting in a very substantial gap in price.
As an actual example, for a U=3= bull weighing 401kg compared to a U+3= heifer weighing 396kg, the difference was almost €120 in favour of the heifer. It's important to stress that these were cohort animals, all under 20 months.
I know the IFA took a lot of stick at the time of the introduction of the grid, and now that the dust has settled on that argument I think most people will agree that it has been good for beef farmers by adding value to quality in-spec animals. Now we need to move that on and introduce a quality payment system for young bulls as well.
Meanwhile, out on the land, grass growth has been non-existent and we went from a surplus of grass to a deficit in a very short space of time.
We have introduced silage to three groups of cows and calves in recent weeks in an attempt to slow the rotation.
Not an ideal situation but, on the bright side, it has meant that we have used all the round bales that were left over, though this week we have started into some of the pit silage that was left over and the forecast tells us that we are going to have this weather for another while.