Gather up quotes as every cent is critical
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.