Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Plants reluctant to move on prices for steers and heifers

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore may be feeling more pressure than beef producers.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore may be feeling more pressure than beef producers.

Joe Healy

Our Tánaiste might be feeling a bit more pressure than beef finishers this week, but the reality is that plants are still very reluctant to move on steer and heifer prices.

A beef finisher remarked at the weekend that if Michael Dowling and his beef activation group can improve beef prices, he deserved to be the next on the list for canonisation after the two Popes.

Admittedly, tighter supplies mean that more of the steers are now securing a base of 395c/kg, with the heifers generally selling between 395-400c/kg. Quotes for the steers range from 385-395c/kg, while the heifer quotes are at 390-395c/kg.

These prices exclude the €0.12/kg bonus which is payable on in-spec QA animals. Overage lots are generally being quoted at 10-15c/kg less but there are reports of figures that are closer to cull cow quotes for out of spec plain cattle from the dairy herd.

With the reducing numbers of young bulls, the 370c/kg for U grades is more common with 360c/kg achievable for the Rs. Prices of up to 375-380c/kg to 450kg, and 365c/kg respectively for U and R grades have been secured.

I have also heard of similar spec U grade bulls ranging in price from 360-375c/kg with R grades varying from 345-365c/kg. Finishers must keep in mind that this 15-20c/kg is too much to ignore and can be a difference of up to €70-90/hd. Bulls under 16 months being sold on the grid are making a base price of between 380-390c/kg.

The tops for the cull cows appears to be 350c/kg with the U grades continuing to move at 330-350c/kg. Prices for the Rs range from 320-340c/kg with the Os varying from 290-315c/kg. P grades remain at 270-290c/kg.

Bord Bia said the trade improved slightly during the week for certain categories of cattle despite strong supplies still being evident. In most of our key export markets. demand is showing signs of some recovery.

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Prices paid for O grade cull cows edged upwards and are now making between €2.95-3.10/kg.

Estimated kill figures from the Department of Agriculture for last week was 30,260 which was over 1,300hd up on the corresponding week last year. Cumulative supplies for the year to-date are running at around 58,000 head higher.

In Britain, reported cattle prices from the AHDB showed little change with GB R4L grade steers averaging €4.68c/kg deadweight, including VAT. Trade has eased somewhat following the Easter period.

Best demand reported is for steak cuts.

Across our key export markets, there continues to be a seasonal shift from forequarter cuts to hindquarter cuts.

In France, the R3 young bull price was unchanged at €4.00/kg, including VAT, while the O3 cow price was up 4c to €3.61/kg.

The R3 young bull price in Italy was down 6c to €4.13/kg, including VAT. The O3 cow price was unchanged at €2.88/kg.

Indo Farming