Farm Ireland

Saturday 18 November 2017

High kills keep the ball firmly in factories' court

Joe Healy

There appears to be as little movement in beef prices as there was in the Irish back line at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday.

The high kills are ensuring that the ball remains in the factories' court and with last week's kill at more than 39,000 head, the omens are not great for the next fortnight or so.

Base quotes for steers are generally at 295-298c/kg. Dunbia is offering a base of 300c/kg for the underage steers, but it remains at 295c/kg for the overage animals. Some plants have been anxious for heifers recently, with prices of 306-311c/kg being paid on a few occasions.

Factories mentioned at the above quotes include the big three, and Slaney, Kildare, Moyvalley and Liffey Meats. The latter plant, while on 300c/kg for the underage heifers, is quoting 295c/kg if the heifers are overage.

Donegal has improved by 3c/kg. For the in-spec Rs, it is paying 314c/kg and 322c/kg for the Us. Out-of-spec stock are 11c/kg back from those figures.

Staying with Donegal, the young bulls are making 294c/kg, 302c/kg and 311c/kg for the O+, R and U grades respectively. Kepak Clonee is on a similar figure for the Rs but is quoting 314c/kg for the U grades. AIBP Rathkeale is on 286c/kg for the Os, 300c/kg for the Rs and 314c/kg for the Us.

The IFA's Michael Doran said that he expects the last of the big kills to be over, with grass cattle at an end.

He added that farmers are determined to get prices up and are refusing to sell at many quoted prices, with some of them commanding 308c/kg and 319c/kg for R and U-grade bulls, while others are securing prices of 314-320c/kg for their heifers.

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Under 30-month steers are scarce and farmers with those cattle are looking for premiums over the base of 3-9c/kg.

Cow quotes are generally in the 235-244c/kg bracket with quotes for the better cows at a range of 260-266c/kg. However, if you have good R or U-grade cows, you should be able to get prices of 265-280c/kg.

The international cattle trade showed little change during the past week, according to Bord Bia, despite larger than anticipated supplies. However, trade with Britain was helped by some strengthening in sterling over the past week.

Quotes for R-grade steers under the Quality Payment System were unchanged, with prices quoted at 294-300c/kg.

Heifer prices showed little change, with quotes now making in the range of 297-302c/kg. These prices exclude the 6c/kg on in-spec quality assured stock. Cow prices also remain unchanged with prices in the range 238-252c/kg as supplies remained tight.

In Britain, little change has been reported as demand continues to offset supply.

Meanwhile, austerity measures recently introduced by the British government, including an increase in VAT rates, are expected to have some impact on beef consumption next year.

This, combined with tighter domestic supplies, is expected to result in a drop of 2pc in beef supplies for consumption at 1.15m tonnes.

Irish Independent