Factories anxious for supply as kill rises
Goodbody stockbrokers were mentioned in the news yesterday for predicting that Ireland would experience economic growth of 4pc this year. Hopefully they will be proved correct.
Any growth is to be welcomed and the slight growth to the beef trade is definitely long overdue. Over the past month the base quote for steers and heifers has probably improved by something similar to 4pc - especially now that a few plants are paying a base of 405c/kg for steers and 415c/kg for heifers.
Base quotes for the steers range from 400-405c/kg with the lower figure more common as a quote, but more and more farmers and factories as well are settling on 410c/kg as the base for a deal to be done.
It's a similar story with the heifers - 410c/kg is the most common quote, but actual base prices of 415c/kg are becoming more frequent. Factories appear quite anxious for stock despite last weeks relatively high kill of an estimated 31,355 compared to 30,475 for the corresponding week last year.
Many finishers selling young bulls are securing a flat price of 410c/kg for a mix of U and R grades, and weight is not an issue.
I also heard of 380c/kg for O grades and O grading Friesians while some finishers are bargaining for up to 390c/kg especially if they have some R and U grades for sale as well. Quote-wise, in general the Os vary from 350c/kg for O- bulls up to 375/kg for the O+ bulls. The Rs are being quoted for at €4/kg while the Us are at 410c/kg.
The cull cow trade has improved with a top price of 385c/kg mentioned for top quality U grading continental cows.
The tops are making from 360-380c/kg with the Rs at 350-375c/kg. Quotes and prices for the O grade cows are ranging from 320-350c/kg. The Ps are making from 310-330c/kg. The key thing, as with any category going to the factory, is to have flesh.
Killing under fleshed cows especially dairy cows is a mistake and you would work out much better selling these types at the mart where the store trade is quite lively.
The IFA's Henry Burns said there is good solid demand for beef with factories chasing supplies. He said the steer base had hit a high of €4.10 with up to a tops of €4.20 paid for heifers.
He noted that farmers are very aware of the value of their cattle and are digging in to get the better prices, adding that sellers should price around.
An Bord Bia described the cattle trade as having edged upwards over the past week on the back of tight supplies and good demand.
Trade was mixed across our key export markets following increases over the festive period.
The majority of steers were purchased at a base price of around €4.00/kg and heifers at €4.05/kg. Selected lots were achieving higher prices. These prices exclude bonuses payable on QA animals.
Prices paid for O grade cull cows were generally making between €3.20-3.35/kg. For the full year, 2014 finished with cattle supplies up 10% or over 153,000 hd.
In Britain, reported cattle prices from the AHDB have remained similar to the previous week with GB R4L grade steers averaging at Stg 371.5p/kg dw (equivalent to €5/kg dw) for the week ended 3rd January.
In France little change was reported to the trade. The R3 young bull price was at €4.00/kg incl VAT while the O3 cull cow was making €3.15/kg.
Significant trading is yet to recommence after the Christmas break in Italy.
High-end cuts, such as fillets, that performed well before Christmas have been slow in the past week.
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