Farm Ireland

Monday 23 October 2017

Grid again plays havoc with quotes

Joe Healy

Our soccer fans are not the only ones facing long journeys in the foreseeable future. If we want to get beef to a viable level our processors have just as far to travel on prices. While Giovanni Trapattoni's followers will often be travelling east, cattle prices need to go northwards in direction -- and fast.

Yes, I fully accept their propaganda of big cattle kills, with last week's estimate being 33,700hd (6,500 ahead of 12 months ago). However, the markets are strong and sterling has moved in our favour. Despite the strong kills, agents are seemingly very anxious for stock.

Sadly at current prices farmers are losing a fortune.

I have mentioned the north already in a different context, but over the past fortnight I have heard of an increasing number of farmers doing deals with factories in Northern Ireland at prices well above the prices they were able to achieve down here. I heard prices of 319-325c/kg being achieved for U grades, 311-314c/kg for Rs and 302c/kg for the O grades.

It goes without saying but the way the Southern plants are treating their loyal suppliers is absolutely despicable, with a very small select few manipulating and controlling the whole industry.

Even though they are extremely anxious to stick rigidly to the grid, AIBP and the Dawn plants, for the greater part, continue to be the poor relation on quotes and prices. Generally they are working off a base quote of 290-291c/kg for the steers, with some of them trying to also hold this for the heifers, while others are willing to quote 297c/kg for the underage females. The 6c/kg quality assurance is on top of those figures.

Kildare, Kepak Athleague and Moyvalley are on 294c/kg and 300c/kg bases. Liffey is quoting a base of 294c/kg for both heifers and steers, while Dunbia is reportedly quoting 291c/kg to some farmers for steers and 294c/kg to others. I heard of them paying a flat 302c/kg for heifers but they are quoting a base of 294c/kg.

Good continental-type heifers made up to 308c/kg flat in Duleek but they are anxious to buy the non-continentals on the grid. There is no change in Donegal, with in-spec R and U grades at 311c/kg and 322c/kg respectively. They are paying 302c/kg for R-grade young bulls and 311c/kg for the Us.

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It was a similar figure I heard for the Rs going into Kepak Clonee, but the U grade bulls were at 314c/kg.

Bord Bia said the cattle trade remained steady over the past week with prices unchanged. Quotes for R-grade steers under the Quality Payment System continue to make a base reference price of 291-297c/kg, while heifers are making in the region 297-302c. These prices exclude the 6c on in-spec, quality-assured stock. The cow trade has stabilised, with O grades generally making 224-240c/kg.

In the UK, trade remains similar to previous weeks. Reported cattle prices from the AHDB eased, with GB R4L grade steers at stg285.8p/kg dw (equivalent to 344c/kg including VAT dw) for the week ended January 30.

On the continent, promotions on some markets continue to help trade. In France, Irish Steer hindquarters are at €4.42/kg, while R3 young bull prices in Germany increased to €3.38/kg.

Irish Independent

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