Farming

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Factories exert more pressure on beef men

In response to a question regarding the dropping of Brian O'Driscoll, Warren Gattland said that "this was a story being kept on life support by the media".

The whole beef sector at farm level may well require some form of life support to ensure its survival if beef farmers' disillusionment with the industry continues for much longer.

The factories have been coming down hard on the young bulls over the last month but they now seem to have switched their attention to exerting negative pressure to the steers and more especially the heifers.

Factories that were paying 410c/kg for heifers up to recently are this week trying to buy at 400c/kg, with the general run making 405c/kg.

I didn't hear of anything over €4/kg of a base for the steers, with out of spec steers being quoted for as low as 390c/kg. The best of the bulls are now only making 370c/kg.

While some factories are only quoting 360c/kg, in the main the Us are making up to the 370c/kg.

R grades are making 350-360c/kg, with some farmers negotiating between 360c/kg to 370c/kg for a mix of Rs and Us.

PRICES

Depending on the type of O, prices for this type of bull range from 320-340c/kg. Speaking of O grades, this column reported last week that Dunbia had offered and paid 300c/kg for Os. This should have read 320c/kg. Farmers need to keep an eye on the age.

Average bulls are just not wanted. The U grade cull cows are making 330-350c/kg. The Rs are varying from 320c/kg to 340c/kg, with the Os at 290-300c/kg. P grades are making 280-290c/kg.

Cattle supplies at export meat plants for the week ending January 25 stood at almost 31,400hd, which was down slightly on the previous week, and more than 2,000 head or 7pc higher than the equivalent week in 2013.

Cumulative supplies for the year Us are running over 10,000hd or 9pc higher for the corresponding period last year. There was a strong increase in supplies of heifers and cull cows.

In Britain, trade remains sluggish for most parts of the carcass, according to Bord Bia. Demand for manufacturing beef has been under some pressure recently in response to milder than usual weather conditions having some impact on trade.

Reported cattle prices from the AHDB fell during the past week with GB R4L grade steers averaging at Stg381.6p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 487c/kg including VAT deadweight) for the week ended January 25.

SLOW

In France, trade was slow on the back of the mild weather conditions which have dampened demand for forequarter cuts, combined with some reports that an increase in competitive Polish supplies on the market are affecting the trade.

The Italian market has experienced little change since the start of January, with trade for high-end cuts such as fillets reportedly slow as consumers continue to switch to cheaper cuts.

In France, the R3 young bull price for the week ending January 20 was down 2c at €4.08/kg inclusive of VAT, while the 03 cow price was down 2c to €3.41/kg.

The R3 young bull price in Italy was up 5c to €4.18/kg, while the 03 cow price was down 1c to €2.76/kg including VAT.

Elsewhere, Bord Bia said that after year one of the Honest by Nature campaign promoting Irish beef to Dutch consumers, GFK research from a panel of 1,100 consumers shows a significant increase in the levels of Dutch consumer awareness of Irish beef.

Top-of-mind awareness has doubled, making Ireland now the most recognised imported beef by Dutch consumers, even though it ranks fifth importer by volume and value.

Irish Independent