Farm Ireland

Thursday 23 November 2017

Gather up quotes as every cent is critical

Joe Healy

THE main talking point this week is the renewed pressure to re-open the live export trade to the Middle East and North Africa.

IFA president John Bryan has met with Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith and asked the Government to spare no resources in progressing the issue at both diplomatic and technical levels with several countries.

In the past, the Lebanese market imported up to 75,000hd of cattle from Ireland, Libya has taken more than 80,000hd and Egypt took 170,000hd in the mid-1990s.

Meanwhile, even though last week's estimated kill was 30,150hd, the feeling out there is that shed cattle are becoming as remote as Ireland's chances of ever winning Eurovision again.

Agents are actively looking for stock, but farmers need to be careful and keep loyalty in perspective. It must have a price and if you can get substantially more in another plant remember every cent counts in the current climate.

I say this because when I was doing the rounds yesterday it was obvious that there was quite a variation regarding the quotes for the R grades. These ranged from a 303c/kg base in the south up to a base of 314c/kg in Moyvalley; Donegal paid as much as 325c/kg for the in-spec R-grade cattle.

In between there are some differences on base quotes for steers of 305c/kg, 306c/kg, 308c/kg and 311c/kg. So, just make sure that you shop around or talk to more than one agent.

It is a similar story with the heifers, where the base quote varies from 309c/kg to 319c/kg, with Donegal again on the 325c/kg mark for the in-spec females. If you have those types, the difference between the top and bottom prices on, say, a 300kg heifer is worth (16c by 300kg) €48/hd.

Also Read

Donegal are on 333c/kg for the U grade in-spec stock.

Elsewhere, Kepak Athleague are working off a base of 308c/kg for steers and 318c/kg for heifers. Clonee are on 303-308 for steers and 314-319 for heifers. Liffey's base quotes are 303c/kg and 309c/kg. Dunbia were on 308c/kg for bullocks, while Duleek had 314c/kg for steers killing out under 420kg, and 305c/kg over this weight.

On heifers under 320kg, they were paying 322c/kg and 314c/kg over this. The U-grades were making 17c/kg more all round. O-grade young bulls are making upwards of 300c/kg. The Rs vary from 308-314c/kg, while the U grades are at 319-322c/kg.

IFA National Livestock chairman Michael Doran said cattle prices at the factories are continuing to rise, driven by tighter supplies and strong market demand. He said the base price for steers has moved up to €3.06-3.08/kg, with prices as high as €3.12-3.14/kg being paid.

He said the base price for heifers has moved up to €3.10-3.15/kg, with prices as high as €3.22/kg being paid. He added that there is strong retail demand, and the substantial change in sterling from 90p to the euro to 85p is worth 16-18c/kg to returns.

Cull cow prices have also moved in the right direction. Top quality cows are freely making a minimum of 294c/kg. Again, there is huge variation between the plants so get a few quotes before you sell. P grades vary from 258c/kg to 269c/kg, Os from 263c/kg to 291c/kg, Rs from 274c/kg to 294c/kg, while the U-grade prices are ranging from 280c/kg up to and over 300c/kg.

Irish Independent