Factories are 'frantic' for cattle
As one farmer put it yesterday morning: "If it's not negative, it's positive" - he was commenting on the cattle trade where, despite no real movement on prices, the fact that they were holding steady was quite positive given that the kill remained strong at 32,651hd.
This figure is almost 1,200 hd above the corresponding week last year. Quotes for the steers continue to be at €4.15-4.20/kg with sellers holding hard for the higher figure before agreeing to sell.
I did hear of some plants offering 10c/kg less for heavier steers killing out over 400kg. The base for the heifers runs from €4.25-4.30/kg and again, as with the steers, farmers are slow to sell under the higher amount especially when they are aware of up to €4.35/kg having been paid.
The best I heard reported for bulls was €4.25/kg for U grades while a flat price of €4.20 is common enough for a mixture of R and U grades and also for Rs on their own.
Some farmers are selling their Rs at €4.15. Prices for the O grades vary from €3.95-4.05/kg with most of them moving at €3.95-4.00/kg.
Meanwhile, some factories have upped their cull cow quotes, something that is often seen as a positive indicator of the beef trade overall. Depending on the grade, weight and flesh of what you are selling, prices can vary from €3.30-3.90/kg.
Commenting on the trade, the IFA's Henry Burns said prices are hardening again and factories are having to pay a base price of €4.20/kg to get steers and €4.30/kg for heifers.
He said that after a bit of levelling off on prices last week, there was more power and demand in the trade this week with factories very anxious for cattle with one agent describing the situation as "factories need the cattle frantically".