Factories keep price quotes at loss-making rates
When starting the rounds yesterday morning to see what was happening in beef circles I, along with most beef farmers, was hoping for news akin to Mount Leinster Rangers' win in the Leinster club hurling final last Sunday.
Lightning has been known to strike twice they say, but not on this occasion as the beef processors with all their negative propaganda are successfully managing to keep quotes and prices at low and loss-making levels for finishers.
In a nutshell, the beef price in Britain is more than €5/kg compared to our €4/kg. Finishers would like this huge difference to be explained to them as opposed to the usual negative jargon from the beef factories.
That is the only constant from them since I began doing this column. I spoke to a farmer recently and he had calculated that it was costing him about €3.65/hd/day when everything was included. Finishers need to see some light at the end of the tunnel and an immediate rise which is very affordable and necessary would help confidence.
Steer quotes for the early part of the week is €4/kg and most of them are being bought at this, but there are some deals of up to 405c/kg being done. Having said that, there are lesser quotes being offered for overage steers and different again for non-Quality Assured (QA) stock. So instead of past days when farm factories offered one base price that farmers they either accepted or fought over, farmers are now being bamboozled with three different base prices. If the factories' aim is to confuse farmers, they are succeeding.
The quotes for the heifers are at 410c/kg but strong sellers are securing 415c/kg and on occasion up to 420c/kg. The best I heard for a mix of R and U grade bulls was 410c/kg. In the main, the U grades are making up to 410c/kg, with the Rs at 400c/kg.
Some plants, especially in the south, are trying to buy Rs at as low as 390c/kg with reports of quotes even below this. Quotes for Os are anywhere from 370c/kg up. Cull cows seem to be about as popular as the board of the Central Remedial Clinic. The tops are struggling to make 350c/kg. R grades range from 320-340c/kg, with the Os varying from 280-320c/kg. Prices for the P grades range from 265-290c/kg depending on where you sell.