Prices stuck in a rut but improvement on horizon
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.