Farmer pressure averts fall in price
While our Taoiseach thinks that we all went mad, some factory sources are convinced that it's mainly beef farmers buying stores that fits into Enda's description.
Regardless of what anyone thinks, the bottom line is that there is an obvious attempt being made by the processors to exert downward pressure on beef prices at the moment.
Without doubt this is to introduce a nervousness among farmers and it is a game that the factories have enjoyed enormous success at down the years.
However, farmers can look at two big positives in their favour: cow prices and the weekly kill. The latter was an estimated 27,000hd for last week, which was almost 600hd down on the previous week and 2,500hd back on the figure for the same week last year.
As far as the cows are concerned, the trade shows little or no negative movement at all, with top prices reported to be in the region of 366-378c/kg. Even the lesser type P+ cows remain in the 322-342c/kg range, with up to 350c/kg for the P+.
While almost all the steers being slaughtered for the first few days of this week have been bought at last week's prices, the factories have dropped today's base quote to below 400c/kg. Indeed, quite a few of them are offering as low as 395c/kg. It is a similar story for the heifers, with a 5c/kg reduction to the base leaving quotes at 405-410c/kg. So far, hard sellers are securing 410-415c/kg.
The IFA's Henry Burns said factory attempts to pull prices were being resisted because farmers cannot afford to sell at reduced prices. He added that steers are making 400-410c/kg with heifers at 410-415c/kg. Bulls are moving at 400-415c/kg with cows at 336-375c/kg.
In Britain, cattle prices from the AHDB were unchanged, with GB R4L grade steers still averaging 337.8p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 424c/kg including VAT deadweight).