Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Change in sterling but no lift in prices

Joe Healy

There seems to be a fair bit of negativity towards the new 30kph speed limit introduced in parts of Dublin city centre yesterday. However, even at this slow pace, they are still moving forward, which is in stark contrast to the beef trade.

If ever any outfit needed a shot of this new speed gene that the equine industry was talking about last week it is the beef processors, especially when it comes to reflecting positivity in the market place and movement in the sterling/euro rate back to the farmer.

With the euro now hovering around the 86-87p mark, we would be forgiven for expecting some upward movement. But I, for one, have long since given up on our beef processors treating the farmer with respect or fairness.

They are also sending out a very clear signal to us all that now, with the grid in place, they will control it and do as they like. This attitude sees them running at prices of up to 60c/kg or €220/hd less than what they are paying to our counterparts in Britain for a 370kg carcass and also 24c/kg or €90/hd less than what was being paid this week last year.

OK, the kill figures remain strong, with approximately 33,000 animals killed last week compared to just over 26,000hd last year, but the markets are strong.

The best prices continue to be where farmers negotiate a flat price off the grid and this is happening quite a lot in plants outside of the big three.

Donegal are paying 302c/kg for QA cattle grading O, 314c/kg for the Rs and 322c/kg for the Us. For young R and U-grade bulls they are on 302c/kg and 311c/kg respectively.

Underage heifers going into Duleek are making 305c/kg flat, while many of the other individual plants are also doing flat deals as well as the grid.

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On the grid, Moyvalley and Kepak Athleague are quoting a base of 294c/kg for the steers and 300c/kg for the heifers. Slaney, AIBP Nenagh, Liffey Meats and Kildare are on 294c/kg base for heifers and steers. AIBP Rathkeale are quoting 291c/kg and 297c/kg for steers and heifers, while a 290c/kg base was mentioned for Dunbia and AIBP Waterford.

IFA's Michael Doran has warned the factories that cattle prices must rise by 20c/kg immediately.

Newly elected ICSA beef chairman Peter Fox,, from Co Longford has outlined issues that need to be urgently addressed in the beef sector. He said the base price needed to lift to €3.36/kg (1.20/lb). He said this week's price of €2.94/kg (£1.05/lb) for R grade steers and €3.00/kg (1.07/lb) for heifers is a long way off where farmers need to be.

Mr Fox also expressed dissatisfaction that not all cattle coming off Bord Bia quality assured farms were receiving the 6c/kg bonus, and that he will be campaigning for a restructuring of the current grid so that it properly rewards farmers for quality production.

"Fat scores of 4= and 4+ should not be penalised and the under 30 months age limit needs to be scrapped," he added.

The general run for call cows ranges from 230c-241c/kg, with good quality R grades are making 252-258c/kg.

Irish Independent

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