Farm Ireland

Friday 23 February 2018

High kill rate prompts plants to drop quotes

Joe Healy

Beef farmers in Kilkenny are suffering on the double this week as a very sluggish trade is only adding to their new experience of losing an All-Ireland final.

Beef farmers elsewhere are just continuing to suffer as a return to rain, allied to a large kill last week, has put the ball firmly into the factories' court. And never failing to look a gift horse in the mouth, they have seized the opportunity to pull the base quotes across the board by a minimum of 3c/kg.

With the markets remaining strong and prices rising in Britain, our processors appear to be as out of touch with reality as Babs Keating is with Tipperary hurling.

It is amazing how the kill continues to be so strong. Most had felt that we would be down under the 30,000 mark continuously at this stage, but last week's estimated figure stood at 33,300hd.

Above 30,000 means that the farmer has little or no power to bargain or negotiate.

As for the quotes, most of the plants are quoting 300c/kg for the steers and 306-308c/kg for the heifers. It is fair to say that the cattle being killed for the first few days of this week have been bought at last week's better prices, and I am aware of cattle in different parts of the country being bought at a base of 302c/kg as late as yesterday, with an odd report of 303c/kg base agreed for very good steers.

Factories mentioned at the above quotes and prices include the Kepak, Dawn and AIBP plants, and Moyvalley, Liffey, Slaney and Kildare Chilling.

Despite a drop of 6c/kg, Kepak Clonee and Athleague are top for the heifers on a base of 308c/kg. Elsewhere, the base appears to be in the 305-306c/kg bracket.

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Prices in Donegal Meats have remained unchanged so far at 333c/kg and 325c/kg for the in-spec U and R grades respectively with the out-of-spec stock running at 11c/kg less.

Donegal is also top for the U-grade young bulls at 322c/kg. Kepak Clonee is on 316c/kg, with Athleague offering 311c/kg. Elsewhere, 308c/kg seems to be as good as it gets.

For the Rs, the northwest plant's price of 314c/kg is well ahead of the 302c/kg on offer from Moyvalley and Kepak Clonee, with 300c/kg the quote from most of the rest.

In an angry response to the drop in prices, IFA's Michael Doran has accused the factories of imposing unjustified cuts in a collective manner at a time when prices in Britain had risen by 5c/kg over the past two weeks to an equivalent of 335c/kg.

Quotes for cull cows range from a low of 224c/kg for the P grades up to a reported high of 280c/kg for the O+ grades over 320kg. The general run appears to be from 241c/kg to 258c/kg.

Irish Independent