Fall in quotes is not sustainable from a finisher's point of view
Quotes have fallen by 10-15c/kg today, compared to the same day last week. On a 400kg carcase, this equates to a loss of €40-60/animal and is simply not sustainable from a finisher's point of view.
What's driving this fall and is it justified? The processors are taking advantage of the very wet conditions but this is absolutely not justified as far as most people are concerned. Last week's kill rose by 450 head of cattle but it was still small compared to previous years, at a total of 24,800 animals.
There are also rumours that this total included a significant number of light and under-finished cattle being slaughtered within this total kill, so the overall meat total could be lower than the numbers suggest.
Steer quotes are between 410-420c/kg for the northern half of the country, with some of the plants in the south quoting as low as 405c/kg. Bullocks killed in the northwest for the early part of this week at least are making up to 432c/kg for the R grades and 444c/kg for the U grades. Similarly, the heifer prices remain at 438c/kg- 450c/kg in this area, while elsewhere the quotes vary from 420-430c/kg. I also heard of Friesian bullocks making 415c/kg flat.
Bulls have taken a bigger hit, with some plants reducing their quotes by as much as 20c/kg for the U grades. In discussions about bull versus steer prices, I expect the negative tone from certain quarters at this stage but maybe a positive angle would serve the industry better.
Why not say that steer beef should be so many c/kg more than bull beef rather than saying that bull beef should be so much less than the steers?
In any case, the quotes and prices for the U grade bulls run from 420-430c/kg, with the Rs at 410-425c/kg. O grade bulls range from 400-414c/kg. With those variations, it goes without saying that you need to shop around before selling because even though the deal was probably done since last week, there is a mix of good bulls being killed this week at 438c/kg flat.