Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

Good cattle returns rise amid record plant prices

Martin Ryan

Premiums for good quality cattle have increased, while penalties for lower grade animals have decreased as beef factories continue paying record- breaking October prices.

The average premium over base paid for U=4+ steers in October shows a 100pc increase compared to September prices, while penalties imposed on O-grade steers have eased by up to 3 c/kg over the past month, as tightening supplies forced the base price upwards for both steers and heifers.

Official figures released by the Department of Agriculture for the third week in October show that the national average base price for R=3= steers was 360c/kg, an increase of 2c/kg over September, and within 3c/kg of the corresponding week in August, with a similar pattern of the trade for heifers.


The factories paid a national average premium of 12c/kg over base for U=4+ steers, exactly double the average premium for the grade in September. Interestingly, the 12c/kg premium is also double the premium specified on the grid before taking into account the additional 6c/kg for QA animals and the penalty of 6c/kg for animals over 30 months.

Liffey Meats led the field for U-grade steers, paying up to 40c/kg over base at 397c/kg, although their base was 3c/kg lower than the national average.

A difference of 20c/kg has opened up between individual factories on the base price for the steers, ranging from 353c/kg to a high of 373c/kg paid by Donegal Meats.

However, the most significant change over the past month has been the drop in penalty applied to O-grade animals, which account for more than 40pc of the national kill.

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The average penalty for O+5- steers dropped by 2c/kg to 32 c/kg and the average penalty on O-4= steers fell by 3c/kg to 26c/kg.

The penalty varied between 13c/kg and 41c/kg at the individual factories, a difference of almost €100/hd on the same grade and weight of animals.

Indo Farming