Farm Ireland

Friday 24 November 2017

Buoyancy on market sees 10c/kg rise in price


Joe Healy

The perfect 10. And yes, while three of our provincial number 10s had unbelievable games in the Heineken Cup at the weekend, it is the beef trade I am referring to where quite a lot of finishers were seeing the prices improve by more than 10c/kg since the early part of last week.

One factory agent remarked that the trade has moved so fast that farmers are finding it difficult to keep up with it and almost afraid to sell today in case the price might have gone up again by tomorrow.

He was telling no lies here because just glancing back to the middle of the year, quite a few factories varied between a 346-358c/kg base quote for the steers between the mid year point and late October. This was only an up or down movement of 12c/kg in total. Over the past three weeks, those same plants have upped their quotes by close to 30c/kg, so it is little wonder that people are able to keep up with it.

Base quotes for heifers today range from 390-400c/kg with reports of some finishers negotiating up to 405c/kg base. The steers are being quoted at 380-390c/kg base with most base prices in a range of 385-390c/kg.

Again, farmers with numbers are securing up to 395c/kg base with a few reports of as much as 400c/kg paid.

One factory agent said to me that anyone with bulls was getting 400c/kg. Mixtures of R and U grades have made 410c/kg. Finishers with numbers of top quality stock are holding out for more. Quotes for the U grades run from 390-400c/kg with the Rs at 380-390c/kg. O-grade quotes of 360-380c/kg are on offer from Donegal for the O+ bulls. Having said that, I did hear of O grades making up to 385c/kg and they didn't have to travel as far north as Donegal.

Commenting on the trade, the IFA's Michael Doran said that with the markets and the trade continuing strongly, sellers should shop around and ensure that they are getting full value for their stock.

If cull cows are an indicator then the omens are good. Some plants are supposed to have paid as high as 364c/kg for the tops of the cows. Generally, farmers with good U grades are getting 350-360c/kg, with the Rs at 325-353c/kg and some processors willing to pay up to 360c/kg for the good heavy Rs. O grades are at 319-339c/kg, with Donegal paying up to 347c/kg for the O+ cows. Depending on where you go with your P+ cows, you could get a range of quotes and prices from a low of 328c/kg up to 372c/kg.

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Trade for cattle continued to firm, reflecting a tightening in domestic supplies combined with lower availability across some key export markets, according to Bord Bia. A good market demand for beef is also helping the trade as customers prepare to stock up in advance of the Christmas period throughout Europe.

Quotes for R-grade steers under the Quality Payment System were generally making €3.70-3.80/kg. Heifer quotes were at €3.75-3.85/kg. These prices exclude the 6c/kg on in-spec quality assured stock. O-grade cows are at €3.14-3.30/kg.

On a year-to-date basis, cattle supplies are running more than 4pc lower than the same period last year.

The trade in Britain remained strong with Christmas demand and scarce supplies helping maintain trade. Roasting joints are reported to have strengthened considerably over the past week. Demand remains strong for knuckles and silversides.

Otherwise, trade for steak cuts remains weak with demand continuing to be flat. Reported cattle prices from the AHDB were unchanged, with GB R4L grade steers averaging 340.4p/kg deadweight, which is equivalent to 418c/kg including VAT deadweight.

On the Continent, trade continued to pick up across most of the key markets, with prices reflecting this pattern. Activity on these markets continues to strengthen in advance of the Christmas period. Strong demand for forequarter products was evident across most of the key markets.

In Germany, R3 young bull prices increased by 3c to €4/kg, while O3 cows prices fell by 1c to €3.09/kg. R3 young bulls in Italy increased by 8c to €4.22/kg, while O3 cow prices rose by 9c to €2.88/kg.

The results of the European working forecast group for beef held last week suggested lower output and consumption in the European beef market during 2012. Most member states expect the stronger export trade outside of the EU to continue, although it remains to be seen if Turkey can maintain its current import levels.

Beef output in the EU15 region is expected to fall by almost 3pc next year to just over 7.1m tonnes. This fall is attributable to lower output in France, Britain and Ireland.

Indo Farming