Farm Ireland

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Factories paying to 336c/kg for heifers

Joe Healy

Lies, damned lies and statistics. This line crossed my mind again yesterday when I heard that the estimated kill for last week was 31,200hd compared to 28,500 for the same week last year.

I, like so many more, had expected that, based on statistics regarding cattle in the different age brackets, the kill would have fallen back by now.

The good news is that, despite this, factories remain anxious for stock, especially young heifers, with reports of the odd special deal as high as 336c/kg being offered for top quality heifers.

Absolutely no farmer should be accepting a base price of less than 308c/kg for their heifers at the moment because they are scarce and several factories are actively trying to source them.

Kepak Clonee are quoting a base of 311c/kg for under 30 months of age and 314c/kg for those under 24 months. Their plant in Athleague is quoting a base of 310c/kg. Moyvalley is on 308c/kg, as are Liffey, Slaney, Dunbia and most of the AIBP and Dawn plants. Farmers in the southeast have got up to 319c/kg including the quality assurance for heifers.

The base for the steers in most of the mentioned plants is from 300-303c/kg but, again, many of them are willing to pay a little more if it means securing the deal.

Some farmers have got up to 307c/kg base. Up in the northwest the in-spec R and U-grade cattle are making 316c/kg and 328c/kg respectively. Stock not falling into this specification is only commanding 305c/kg for the Rs and 316c/kg for the Us.

They are offering 308c/kg for the R-grade young bulls and 316c/kg for the Us. This R price seems to be the norm around the country, even though Slaney is said to be on 302c/kg. For the Us, Kepak Clonee are at 319c/kg but is willing to give a little more for select lots.

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Liffey and Slaney have been mentioned at 314c/kg.

IFA national livestock committee chairman Michael Doran said cattle prices are continuing to rise, driven by tightening supplies and an improving market for hindquarter and particularly steak cuts. Quotes and prices for cull cows have strengthened with top prices of 291c/kg reported for top quality stock. Donegal are paying 280c/kg for O+ above 320kg. Moyvalley and Kepak Clonee are freely offering 280c/kg for good, heavy R grades. The P+3 grades are being quoted at 252-263c/kg with the Os at 263-274c/kg.

According to Bord Bia, the cattle trade in Britain was mixed over the past week. Cattle prices from the AHDB eased as GB R4L steers averaged the equivalent of €3.36/kg including VAT.

On the continent, there was little change to report in the beef trade, with demand holding across most markets. In Germany, R3 young bull prices fell by 5/c to 307c/kg, while O3 cow prices rose by 1/c to 243c/kg.

Irish Independent