Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 March 2018

Cow boost offers hope despite increased kill

Joe Healy

No windfall or Bank of Ireland-like pension top-ups to report in the beef trade today, but maybe a tiny hint of some positive movement.

Cows have strengthened and that is generally a good sign. Steers and heifers are proving slower to move and they are not helped by the kill moving back up above the 30,000 mark again -- last week's kill was estimated at 31,800hd compared to 28,800 for the same week last year.

Expecting any reasonable price increase with slaughtering at this level is akin to expecting an apology from Seanie Fitz.

Base quotes for the steers remain at the 294-297c/kg level with heifers at 297-303c/kg. Important to note is that the quality-assurance payment of 6c/kg is on top of those figures.

As for the heifers, Slaney is dragging its heels by staying on the same base of 297c/kg. They are also at the lower end for the R-grade young bulls quotes, 298c/kg. For the Us they are as good as the best of the rest at 308c/kg.

Moyvalley and several of the AIBP plants are quoting a base of 294c/kg for the bullocks and 300c/kg for the heifers. Dunbia, Liffey and the Dawn and Kepak plants are said to be quoting 297c/kg for the steers and 302/303c/kg for the heifers. The in-spec R and U grades going into Donegal meats are at 319c/kg and 327c/kg respectively. Young bulls of those grades are at 308c/kg and 316c/kg.

Quotes elsewhere for the young R and U bulls are 300c/kg and 305c/kg in Liffey, 302c/kg for the Rs in some of the Kepak and AIBP plants, and 298c/kg in Slaney. Those three are offering 308c/kg for the U grades, with a few of the AIBP factories quoting 286c/kg for O grades.

Good continental heifers made 314c/kg in Eurofarm Duleek. Underage Friesian bulls going to the North made a flat price of 308c/kg.

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The IFA's Michael Doran said factories were having to pay 6-9c/kg above the quoted figures to get stock because shed cattle are getting very scarce.

Cull cows are in demand with several factories willingly paying up to 280c/kg for the good R/U grades over 360kg carcass weight. Included here are Moyvalley, Duleek and Donegal. Quotes for P grades are in the 235-248c/kg range, with the Os being quoted at 248-258c/kg.

Bord Bia reported that the cattle trade stayed unchanged over the past week as supplies remain ahead of last year, with trade helped by demand holding up across some of the key European markets.

On a year to date basis, supplies are running 15pc, or 61,000hd, higher.

Irish Independent