Farmers lose €250/hd on underfinished stock
Waterlogged fields to blame as prices drop by as much as 100c/kg
Beef farmers struggling to cope with waterlogged fields have resorted to sending hundreds of underfinished cattle to meat factories at discounted prices.
Farmers are losing up to 100c/kg or €250/hd by sending fat score 1 cattle to the factory instead of finishing them.
Their losses are compounded by a €60 fall in factory prices for finished cattle in the past week and reports from the marts that cattle prices are back by around €60/hd.
Friesian and plain bullocks are down €40-60/head. Mart prices for beef bullocks and heifers have also fallen, although to a lesser extent, with prices down €10-15/hd. Analysis of the latest Department of Agriculture figures show between half and three quarters of the 25 meat factories have recorded fat score 1 steers in the kill each week and about half the factories have recorded fat score 1 heifers.
Average prices recorded up to July 8 were as low as 140c/kg for O=1-steers, while prices for R grade steers were up to 100c/kg less than the national base price for the week.
The policy of the Department of Agriculture is not to include an average price in a category unless there are sufficient stock in the particular category to give a representative result.
This is the first time national average prices have been reported by Department of Agriculture for all R1 grades and half U/O fat score 1 grades of steers since weekly reporting was introduced 10 years ago.