Farmers have to work hard to hit 405c/kg
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.