Farm Ireland

Thursday 18 January 2018

Quotes fall 3-6c/kg in a week amid continued tight supply


Joe Healy

It is always difficult to get a true picture of how the week is going to pan out on a bank holiday Monday as there can be quite a bit of 'cat and mouse' going on. The bad news is that, at face value, base quotes look to be 3-6c/kg lower. However, things are not always as they seem and I'd be hopeful that this also applies to the cattle trade at the moment.

Supplies are undoubtedly tight despite what factory sources might try to have you believe. Still, we are where we are and, as of yesterday noon, the quotes coming from the factories were generally in the 357-363c/kg price range for the steers as opposed to the 360-365c/kg being quoted last week.

A dip in Donegal sees the prices for in-spec R and U-grade steers at 367c/kg and 375c/kg respectively, with the same grade heifers at 372c/kg and 381c/kg respectively.

Elsewhere, base prices for heifers are 363-365c/kg, compared with 365-370c/kg on offer a week ago. Having said that, word has it that the 370c/kg is achievable today in the north east.

Quotes and prices for U-grade young bulls vary from 364-370c/kg, with the Rs ranging from 358-364c/kg. Quotes for the Os are in the 347-355c/kg bracket.

Commenting on the trade, the IFA's Michael Doran said feeders were not parting with the last of their shed-fed cattle at the lower quoted prices and were demanding 6-9c/kg more than the quotes. He added that some finishers were securing a base of 366c/kg for their bullocks and 372c/kg for heifers.

There is a definite effort by the processors to reduce the cull cow prices. While a few farmers have got 322-330c/kg for good heavy cows, the top quotes today appear to be 322c/kg for good R and U-grade animals. Quite a few plants are offering 308-322c/kg for the Rs. The O quotes range from 298-308c/kg, while the O+ types are making 308-316c/kg. P+ cows are at 291-302c/kg.

The cattle trade eased slightly over the past week, according to Bord Bia, in response to stronger supplies, combined with demand somewhat weakening on the domestic and key export markets.

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Quotes for R-grade steers under the Quality Payment System were €3.60-3.65/kg.

Heifer quotes made in the region of €3.65-3.70/kg. These prices exclude the 6c/kg on in-spec Quality Assured stock.

The cow trade eased slightly, with the O grade cow price typically making between €3.02-3.14/kg.

On a year-to-date basis, supplies are running more than 5pc lower than the same period last year, driven by lower steer and heifer disposals, which are being somewhat offset by stronger young bull supplies.

In the UK, trade remained steady over the past week with a seasonal switch away from round cuts reported. Demand for visibly lean types remain firm. However, some individual forequarter cuts are showing some signs of weakening.

Reported cattle prices from the AHDB have eased slightly, with GB R4L grade steers averaging Stg306.7p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 362 c/kg including VAT deadweight) for the week ended May 28.

On the continent, there was little change to report in trade. Ongoing tight supplies were helping trade for most cuts, while the fifth-quarter market is also performing well.

In France, Irish steer hinds remain unchanged at €5.47/kg (VAT included), with German cow hinds also unchanged at €4.63/kg. R3 young bulls are averaging €3.44/kg in Germany, while O3 cows prices remain unchanged at €3.05/kg.

Indo Farming