Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 February 2018

Drop in kill delivers a price boost

Joe Healy

Farmers are definitely saying 'Yes' to the positive movement in the beef trade this week. The drop of around 5,000hd to the weekly kill when compared to last year is helping matters with last week's estimated kill standing at just shy of 27,700hd. Quotes and prices are up by 5c/kg and finishers are expecting and demanding more.

Steers are being quoted for at €4.15/kg but many producers with numbers are holding out successfully for a base of €4.20/kg. Similarly, the heifer quotes are generally at €4.25/kg but up to €4.30/kg is being paid and even at this some farmers are refusing to sell as they feel confident that there is more there to be got.

The best I heard for young bulls was €4.25 for mixes of R and Us.

This was paid in a few plants but this figure also seemed to be hard to improve on for straight Us. The Rs are at €4.15-4.20/kg, while prices for the O grades are at €3.95-4.00/kg.

If you are selling Angus or Herefords stock, just be careful that the factories are not cutting you on the base in order to minimise the cost of the extra bonus they pay on these breeds. It is happening in places.

Cull cows are making from €3.50-4.00/kg. The tops are commanding prices of €3.90-4.00/kg, while the R grades are making from €3.80-3.90/kg. Prices for the Os range from €3.60-3.70/kg. The Ps are selling for €3.55-3.65/kg.

In Britain, reported cattle prices from the AHDB for GB R4L grade steers averaged 335.5p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 492c/kg including VAT deadweight). Trade was reported to be relatively steady despite some ease in demand coupled with a rise in supplies. Topsides and strips were reported to be performing best.

In France little change has been reported with promotions centred on chucks and diced beef. The R3 young bull price was up 1c to €3.85/kg inclusive of VAT and the O3 cow price was up 2c to €3.42/kg.

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Little change was reported in Italy with the trade remaining slow on the back of sluggish demand due to the arrival of milder weather, with strong competition also reported. The R3 young bull price was up 4c at €4.07/kg and the O3 cow price was up 11c to €3.02/kg incl VAT.

News that Brazil has secured access to the Chinese beef market will come as a backward slap to the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, and his officials.

While Minister Coveney and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were at pains to the talk up the likelihood of China agreeing to take Irish beef during last week's visit of Chinese premier Li Keqiang, the fact that Brazil has beaten us to the punch is a real disappointment.

At this stage, Minister Coveney has trumpeted the opening of the Chinese beef market on as many occasions as he announced GLAS. Hopefully he will actually have something concrete to tell us at some point in the future.


Indo Farming