Farm Ireland

Friday 23 March 2018

Farmers have to work hard to hit 405c/kg

Joe Healy

Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane are being referred to as the 'Dream Team' to take over the Irish soccer team but very few will be surprised if this particular dream turns into a nightmare somewhere down the line.

It will be even less of surprise if trouble develops between beef factories and farmers in the not-too-distant future. Finishers are extremely angry at the processors' refusal to increase prices. There is a difference of up to 90c/kg or €360/hd on a 400kg carcase between an Irish steer and a similar steer in Britain.

On a more positive note, the re-opening of the US market to Irish and EU beef and the positive vibes from the large delegation that travelled to Saudi Arabia last week give some cause for optimism for the future.

As for the present, most of the plants are quoting a base price of 400c/kg for steers and farmers have to work very hard to secure 405c/kg.

Heifer base quotes are stuck around the 410c/kg mark but plants are paying up to 415c/kg. Again, you have to bargain hard for this.

The best prices for the bulls are still limited to the North, where Friesian bulls grading O= and O+ are commanding 390c/kg and, as is the norm, securing free travel. R grade bulls are making 410c/kg. U grades are returning prices of 415c/kg.

This is in stark contrast to prices being paid south of the border. O grades are generally only making 370-380c/kg. R grades are finding it difficult to exceed €4/kg while 410c/kg appears to be the tops for U grades.


Also Read

One agent told me he was getting lots of calls from farmers wishing to move the last of their cattle, which means there will be fewer grass cattle around in the coming days.

The estimated kill for last week stood at 30,141hd, compared to 29,915hd killed during the corresponding week of 2012.

Cull cows are pretty steady, with U grades making 360-380c/kg. Heavy Rs are commanding up to 370c/kg and lighter types are moving at 340-350c/kg. Prices for the Os range from 320-350c/kg with the P cows making from 300-325c/kg.

Commenting on the trade, IFA livestock chairman Henry Burns said farmers had secured 405c/kg plus an odd extra for steers and 415-420c/kg for heifers.

Meanwhile, Bord Bia reported that the cattle trade improved slightly last week, despite some increase in the number of cattle being marketed. Trade was helped by strong demand as buyers started to prepare for the Christmas market for key accounts across our key export markets. This, combined with steady competition for supplies from Northern Ireland plants, helped to underpin the trade.

Base quotes under the Quality Payment System were €4.05-4.10/kg for steers and €4.10-4.20/kg for heifers. The trade for cull cows remained steady, with quotes for O grades generally €3.25-3.40/kg.

For the year to date, cattle throughput is running almost 97,000 head above last year's levels. Steers and cows continue to account for most of the increase in supplies.

In Britain, trade was reported as steady, with most parts of the carcase still in good demand. Trade for steak cuts remained slow, while demand for round cuts and forequarter products held up well. Reported prices from the AHDB eased during the week, with the GB R4L steer now making 400.2p/kg (equivalent to €4.96/kg including VAT) for the week ending October 26.


On the Continent, the seasonal shift towards forequarter cuts from hindquarter cuts continued.

Best demand reported was for chucks. Demand for forequarter cuts continues to be boosted by promotional activity.

In France, R3 young bulls are making €3.98/kg including VAT, while 03 cows are making €3.60/kg.

The R3 young bull in Italy is making €4.26/kg including VAT, while the 03 cow is making €2.84/kg.

Elsewhere, Spanish beef consumption continues to be affected by lack of consumer confidence. This has impact on beef imports, with market access issues for exports also limiting demand for imports.

Irish beef exports for the first eight months of 2013 fell by 2pc – to 9,700 tonnes – compared to corresponding 2012 levels.

Up until the middle of October, Ireland shipped around 35,300 live cattle to Spain.

This was an increase of 142pc compared with the same period last year and was mainly due to higher calf exports.

Irish Independent