Farm Ireland

Monday 18 December 2017

Finishers wait on a pick-up in bases

THE constant drone of the vuvuzelas at every game at the World Cup in South Africa has been driving some of us to distraction, but this is undoubtedly surpassed in the annoying stakes for beef finishers by the absence of quotes for their stock -- especially if it is bullocks they are selling.

Like our Taoiseach, beef finishers have been waiting in vain for good news all year. It is extremely disappointing for those farmers to be getting base quotes of 306--308c/kg at this stage for steers that have cost so much to carry to this stage.

Quite a few of the big players are sticking to quotes in this price bracket, as are Moyvalley, Kildare and Slaney. Liffey is one of the better plants at a base of 311c/kg. But prices for the in--spec cattle going into Donegal Meat Processors have improved. They have been paying 325c/kg, 333c/kg and 342c/kg for the O, R and U grades respectively.


Out-of-spec animals are 11c/kg back from those figures. The base heifer quotes have ranged from 308-319c/kg, but quotes are generally around the 314c/kg. Having said that, farmers are bargaining for, and getting, much more as the supply of heifers appear to be scarce.

IFA spokesman Michael Doran says that the tight supplies were resulting in farmers getting up to a 320c/kg base for their steers and 330c/kg for their heifers.

Quotes for the O-grade young bulls are 308-311c/kg. The Rs are 314-319c/kg, while the Us are at 322-328c/kg. Donegal Meat Processors is paying 325c/kg for the Os, 322c/kg for the R grades and 330c/kg for the Us.

There is pressure on cull cow prices, with some plants attempting to pull the quotes. Quotes for the O grades have been ranging from 258-269c/kg over 273kg, 318kg and 364kg carcass weights. The R grades are making 11c/kg more in each category of weight, while the U grades are commanding prices of 291-298c/kg in places.

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Remember to pay close attention to the paperwork, whatever you are selling. I say this because there are quite a few reports of the c/kg on the statement not matching the p/lb that the farmer negotiated. If you do the deal in p/lb then multiply this figure by 2.8 to convert it to c/kg: eg £l/lb = 280c/kg or £1.10/lb = 308c/kg. In reverse, just divide the c/kg by 2.8 to get your p/lb.

Bord Bia says the cattle trade showed some further improvement over the past week as sterling continued to strengthen against the euro, and it is currently at its strongest point in more than 18 months. Otherwise, market demand is reportedly steady, with weekly supplies still running well ahead of last year's levels.

Quotes for R-grade steers under the Quality Payment System are now making a base reference price of 308-314c/kg. Heifer prices have increased to 311-319c/kg, but these prices exclude the six cent Quality Assurance Premium.

The cow trade has settled down, with O grades making 266-280c/kg, despite strong cow supplies being recorded for the week ending June 6.

In Britain, trade remained stable with demand reported as reasonable. Reported cattle prices from the AHDB have eased with GB R4L grade steers averaging Stg268.9p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 341c/kg including VAT deadweight) for the week ending June 6.

Market demand for beef is reportedly holding up across the key continental markets.

In France, Irish steer hindquarters are making 453-463c/kg.

R3 young bull prices are up 2/c in Germany to 316c/kg, with O3 cow prices increasing by 4/c making 251c/kg.

Meanwhile, in Italy, R3 young bull prices fell by 3/c to 351c/kg, with O3 cow prices rising by 5/c to €259/c/kg.

Irish Independent