Prices lift to a base of €4.40/kg for heifers
WHAT's seldom is wonderful. While Laois hurlers' victory over Offaly last Sunday falls into this category, so too do the reports of a €4.40/kg base for heifers. More and more finishers have been securing the €4.35/kg and, while plants have been reluctant to go north of this, it appears that more has been paid.
A few plants might still be quoting lower, but little or no heifers are being bought outside of €4.30-4.35/kg. Agents are not shy in admitting that supplies were already tightening, especially if a few fine days came when the focus on farms would be on silage as opposed to selling cattle.
The kill figure for last week from the Department of Agriculture backs this up, with an estimated total kill of 26,770hd being some 2,600 animals less than the corresponding week last year.
Quotes for the steers range between €4.20-4.25/kg, but - as with the heifers - more farmers are holding out for the higher of the two figures. Some farmers have been successful in bargaining for a base of €4.30/kg.
Demand is strong for all young bulls with prices ranging from €4.00-4.30/kg. The best of them are making from €4.20-4.30/kg, while the R grades are selling for €4.20-4.25 generally.
I heard mention of €4.20/kg for O grades, but in the main they are in a range from €4.00-4.15/kg. Even without the higher figure, there's a 15c/kg difference worth as much as €60/hd to the farmer.
Depending on grade, cull cows are making from €3.60-4.10/kg. I did hear of €4.10/kg for Rs and Us. Most of these well fleshed cows are making from €3.80-4.10/kg. O grades are commanding prices of €3.70-3.90/kg, while the Ps are moving at €3.60-3.80/kg.
Commenting on the trade overall, the IFA's Henry Burns advised farmers with beef to sell to shop around and not be afraid to demand a price. He added that agents are very anxious to close deals and have room to manoeuvre.