Farm Ireland

Friday 23 March 2018

Prices stay steady with tight supply

Joe Healy

This week is all about Yes or No. Forget the Eurovision, forget Euro 2012. It's just a Yes or No on Thursday.

Thankfully, as far as beef prices are concerned it is a big 'yes' again this week as recent strong prices were maintained.

The low kill continues to help, with last week's estimated figure standing at approximately 24,000hd compared to 29,741hd last year.

The best prices as usual come from the northwest, with 450c/kg and 438c/kg paid for U and R grade in-spec heifers respectively. The same grades in the steers are at 444c/kg and 432c/kg. Out of spec stock are 6c/kg less.

Elsewhere, I hear that a base of 435c/kg continues to be secured in the northeast for heifers with a 430c/kg base mentioned from a number of other plants around the country. Actual quotes for the heifers are generally in the 425-430c/kg range. On the steers, the quotes are generally pretty close to 410-415c/kg.

Bulls show little or no change either. The quotes and prices for the U grades range from 425c/kg to 432c/kg, with the Rs at 415-420c/kg.

The Os are in a range of 400-414c/kg. Flat prices of 425c/kg for a mix of Rs and Us have been negotiated and I heard of 415c/kg for a mix of over-age bulls.

There are a few mixed opinions on the cows, with just the odd person beginning to think that they have topped out.

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In any case, the quotes or prices show very little change. The good U grades are making 390-405c/kg.

The Rs are commanding 380-400c/kg, while prices for the O grades run from 360c/kg to 385c/kg. P+ cows are making 350-370c/kg.

The IFA's Henry Burns said that the positive change to the sterling had added up to 20c/kg to British returns over the last six to eight weeks. He added that finishers were securing base quotes of 415c/kg for steers and 430c/kg for their heifers, with some getting more.

Meanwhile, Dawn Meats has been awarded a five-year contract from McDonalds worth €300m to process up to 18,000t of Irish beef annually.

As part of the contract, Dawn has invested €14.5m in a new beef processing facility in Waterford, creating 65 new jobs.

The beef trade in Britain is reportedly steady, according to Bord Bia.

Some easing in demand for roasting cuts has materialised over the past week.

Trade for steak cuts, in particular rump steaks, are showing signs of improvement.

Demand for forequarter cuts continue to be buoyant for burger production as the barbecue season begins to take hold.

Reported cattle prices from the AHDB have eased with GB R4L grade steers averaging at 342.7p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 450c/kg including VAT deadweight) for the week ended May 19.

On the continent, trade across most of the key markets remains steady. Demand for steak cuts has improved on the back of some price promotions, combined with the ongoing improvement in weather conditions.

Otherwise, demand for round cuts and forequarter cuts has dampened somewhat.

In France, Irish steer hinds are making from €5.78 to €5.88/kg. R3 young bulls are making €3.93/kg in Germany, with O3 cows making €3.42/kg. In Italy, R3 young bulls are making €3.97/kg, O3 cows are €3.18/kg inclusive of VAT.

Indo Farming