Farmers in driving seat as steers up to 375c/kg
A scarcity of prime stock and a kill figure of less than 27,000 are driving the beef trade and helping to improve the deals on offer to farmers at the moment.
And to back up my continuous argument of pricing around, bargaining and going where you can get the most, I see that, for the second week running, a significant price lift has occurred in Donegal. Coincidentally, I reported in this column a fortnight ago that large numbers of cattle were, unusually, leaving Co Donegal to be slaughtered elsewhere. At that time, the price on offer at Donegal Meats was 355c/kg for the in-spec R-grade steers.
Today, after two significant prices increases in two weeks, Donegal is paying 375c/kg for that same grade. There has been a similar 20c/kg increase across all grades and for heifers and young bulls. This is equivalent to an €80 improvement on a 400kg carcass, which stems from farmers voting with their feet and going to other plants.
Donegal's prices for O, O+, R and U-grade steers are 358c/kg, 368c/kg, 375c/kg and 383c/kg respectively, with the heifers 3c/kg higher. Bulls are at 347c/kg for the Os, 361c/kg for the O+ grades, 370c/kg for the Rs with the Us at 378c/kg.
The plant has also increased its cow prices and dropped the minimum weight from 320kg to 280kg. The U-grade cow is making 339c/kg, Rs are at 333c/kg, O+ at 328c/kg, Os at 322c/kg and the P-grades at 311c/kg.
For the other plants, steer quotes are generally in the 360-365c/kg range, with reports of up to 370c/kg being paid in places. Moyvalley quoted 358c/kg for the R grades.
Heifer quotes are around 360-370c/kg, with 375c/kg being secured by some farmers. If you have a large number of suitable heifers, then a flat price well in excess of this figure can and is being negotiated.
Quotes for U-grade bulls range from a low of 364c/kg in Moyvalley up to 370-378c/kg on offer from most of the other plants. The R grades range from 364-370c/kg, while the O grades are in the 347-350c/kg bracket.