Farm Ireland

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Pound stabilisation helps trade improve

Joe Healy

Cattle are holding their own on price and more than holding their own on supplies. Last week's kill was above the 30,000hd mark again, but I suppose the one saving grace is that the prime cattle kill is down -- and it is the increased numbers of cull cows being slaughtered that is swelling the weekly kill figures.

Reports suggest that Donegal Meats was buying cows all over the country last week, both in farmyards and at the marts. Little wonder, then, that even by yesterday morning the company was saying it was full for the week ahead.

However, it is still ahead on price, with 286c/kg being mentioned for the O+ and R-grade cows killing out above 320kg. For the in-spec steers and heifers it is back 3c/kg, but still paying 339c/kg for the U grades, 330c/kg for the Rs, 325c/kg for the O+ and 316c/kg for the Os.

The out-of-spec stock are 11c/kg back from those prices, while the Ps are at 280c/kg. I did hear of R-grade cattle making 328c/kg in the east, with Os commanding a price of 311c/kg.

Moyvalley is quoting a base of 308c/kg for the steers but has paid 322c/kg for R grades. It is quoting a base of 314c/kg for the heifers, but with supplies very scarce it, like every other plant, is having to pay much more.

Kepak Athleague is on base quotes of 308c/kg for the bullocks and 318-320c/kg for the heifers. For the young bulls it is quoting 297c/kg for the Os, 314c/kg for the Rs and 325c/kg for the Us. Slaney is similar for the young bulls, as is Liffey Meats. The Us are the same in Kepak Clonee but the Rs are a bit better at 319c/kg. Clonee's quote for the steers is 308c/kg, while its quote for the heifers is 319c/kg.

Liffey Meat's quotes for the steers and heifers are 308c/kg and 314c/kg respectively, with AIBP Waterford and Dawn Grannagh and Ballyhaunis mentioned at those figures as well. Dunbia is said to be offering 314c/kg and 319c/kg.

Apart from the price for Donegal referred to earlier for the cows, the best I heard of elsewhere was Dunbia, where 280c/kg was paid. Elsewhere the R-grade quotes generally ranged from 263-274c/kg, depending on carcass weight, with the Ps at 252-263c/kg and the Os at 255-266c/kg.

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Bord Bia reported that the cattle trade stayed unchanged last week as the British pound showed signs of stabilising against the euro. This, combined with steady demand for hindquarter cuts, is helping trade.

Quotes for R-grade steers under the quality payment system (QPS) were still making a base reference price of 308-314c/kg. Heifer prices were unchanged, with quotes in the range of 311-319c/kg. These prices exclude the 6c on in-spec, quality-assured stock.

The cow trade remained strong, with O grades still making 266-280c/kg, despite strong cow supplies for the second consecutive week at more than 8,000hd -- an increase of more than 2,000hd on the same week last year.

In the UK, trade remained stable, with demand reported as sufficient to match supplies. Reported cattle prices from the AHDB showed little change, with GB R4L grade steers averaging Stg269.1p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 339c/kg including VAT deadweight) for the week ending June 12.

On the continent, overall market demand for beef is holding well across most markets, with a good trade for hindquarter cuts continuing, although forequarter cuts are slow to move.

In France, Irish steer hindquarters are making 453-463c/kg. R3 young bull prices in Germany are down 5/c to 310c/kg, while O3 cow prices increased by 1/c to a quote of 252c/kg.

In Italy, R3 young bull prices rose by 1/c to 352c/kg, while O3 cow prices were unchanged at €253/c/kg.

Irish Independent