Farm Ireland

Monday 19 March 2018

Plants accused of ‘daylight robbery’

Joe Healy

A beef farmer I met at the weekend had the ‘glass half full’ attitude as he said that he, and most of his comrades, need have no fears of an increase in the income tax in the upcoming Budget.

He was extremely confident that despite killing quite a few cattle throughout this year, a tax bill was as unlikely as Fianna Fail winning the Donegal South West by-election. With steers fit to kill at the moment, he is extremely disappointed that there has been absolutely no positive movement to quotes or prices recently.

Unfortunately, our processors never need much of an excuse to keep prices low, but the weak sterling, allied to the continuing large weekly kills, is definitely not helping matters. Last week's estimated kill was 35,800hd, which was up more than 800 animals on the same week last year. For the year to date, the kill is more than 100,000 head higher.

Donegal's 311c/kg and 319c/kg for the in-spec R and U grades respectively leaves them well ahead of the rest. Taking 11c/kg off this price for cattle not in the in-spec category still leaves them on 300c/kg and 308c/kg, which is still better than what is on offer elsewhere. Most other plants are quoting a base of 294-295c/kg. Some are operating different quotes for overage and underage animals.

Dunbia is offering 290c/kg for the overage steers and 300c/kg for the underage. Kepak Clonee is operating a weight penalty with a reduction of 4c/kg if the carcass is more than 420kg and 10c/kg if it weighs more than 450kg. This brings them back to a price of 284c/kg for an R= or R+ grade steer killing out at 460kg. Slaney, while probably quoting 295c/kg, is said to be willing to pay 297c/kg. Kepak, Dawn and AIBP plants, alongside Liffey and Moyvalley, are quoting 295c/kg for the R+ and R=, while Moyvalley's O price is 280c/kg and its U price is 300c/kg. The base for the heifers is in the 300-302c/kg range. I did mentioned for Dunbia. Top for the cows appears to be the 266c/kg for the good continental types from Dunbia. Moyvalley is offering a top quote of 263c/kg, while Donegal is on 260c/kg. In general, 235-252c/kg is being quoted for cows.

Meanwhile IFA national livestock chairman Michael Doran has launched a blsitering attack on the factories. Mr Doran said the latest move by some factories in attempting to impose a hefty weight limit penalty without informing the farmers before hand was nothing short of “daylight robbery”. Mr Doran said farmers had to strongly reject weight limit penalties.

He said no farmers should part with cattle to any agent or factory without clearly knowing the full terms of trade. Any deductions or bonus must be up front, fully explained and transparent. On the export front, more than 2,300 weanlings have been shipped to Morocco since the country reopened its doors to Irish beef imports.

Also Read

Irish Independent