Farmers need to be wary of factories' tactics
In keeping with our win over the French at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday, there are aspects of the beef trade which are not that pretty but the end result is positive.
Pressure akin to what Paul O Connell and his team-mates had to apply to defend their lead in the final quarter will have to be replicated by farmers and the organisations to prevent factories from attempting to pull quotes.
There is no basis for the downward pressure some of the processors are trying to exert on quotes. Markets are strong, sterling movement is very much in our favour and is currently up by as much as 8pc against the euro when compared with this time last year.
And even though the kill remains strong at an estimated figure of 31,900hd last week, there is little doubt, but that supplies will tighten going forward. There still remains more than enough of a gap between here and the British price to justify further increases to the beef price paid to Irish finishers.
Another positive signal is the fact that the cull cow trade continues to be very solid with top cows making from €3.70-3.85/kg and no mention from the factories of any negative movement to these animals.
Given all this, it is a bit rich but fairly typical of our processors to hint at a cut to the quotes for steers and heifers.
A few of them have dropped their offer by 5c/kg to €4.10/kg for the steers and €4.15/kg for the heifers.
In the main the quotes are at €4.10-4.15/kg and €4.20-4.25/kg for the bullocks and heifers respectively. Steers killed so far this week are generally bought at €4.20/kg while very few heifers have been sold at less than €4.25/kg.