Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 February 2018

Prices stuck in a rut but improvement on horizon

Joe Healy

Are we becoming more like our rugby team in that we are a little more optimistic even though, similar to Ireland's defeat in the Aviva on Saturday, we are still losing?

A 20-point defeat, yet players and commentators alike are talking about a much-improved performance and something to build on. The beef trade appears similar. Prices are still stuck in a rut: last week's estimated kill of 37,900 is probably the highest of the year so far and yet there just seems to be a few green shoots.

For example, despite the high kill, the factories seem to be quite anxious for stock, with some of them offering prices well above the quotes while others not normally overly interested in bulls are asking farmers and agents about them in order to satisfy their requirements.


Base quotes for the steers remain at 294-296c/kg for the most part, even though prices of up to 300c/kg are to be found. The heifer quotes are mainly at the 300c/kg, with an odd plant quoting below this for the over-age females. Again, however, there are plants willing to pay as high as 314c/kg for good Rs and 319c/kg for U grades.

Young bulls mentioned above are commanding prices of up to 314c/kg and 325c/kg for R and U grades respectively. Rs are freely making 308-314c/kg around the country. U-grade prices range from 314-325c/kg while Os are at 286-298c/kg.

All the quotes and prices mentioned are available from plants all over the country. Donegal is paying 319c/kg and 328c/kg for the in-spec heifers and steers.

General quotes for cows are in the 241-252c/kg bracket. Good R grades are up to and over 266c/kg while 280c/kg is being paid for heavy U grades.

Also Read

In the UK, Bord Bia is reporting little change as demand continues to offset supplies. Irish and UK round-cut supplies have begun to tighten somewhat in the run-up to Christmas, leaving a gap in the market for Continental supplies. Trade for steak cuts remains weak, while trade for forequarter product remains unchanged. On the Continent, demand for forequarter beef is strengthening in anticipation of Christmas and Russian demand for manufacturing beef.

In response to tightening South American supplies and increased export demand from the Middle East and Russia, prices for Argentinian and Brazilian steers have risen sharply since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, shipments of Brazillian beef to the EU were 2pc higher, reflecting the increase in the number of farms approved to supply the EU.

Irish Independent