Quotes fall 5c/kg as factories play hardball, despite low kill
If only we could disallow the factories' attempts to pull quotes like the referee disallowed Cyril Donnellon's goal on Sunday. The outcome could be as positive for farmers as it was for Brian Cody's Kilkenny team.
Even though the weekly kill is still running 5,000hd below last year, the factories are continuing to put major pressure on beef quotes. I dread to think what the factories would be at if the kill was up around 35,000hd.
Steer quotes are at a base of around 380-385c/kg. In-spec R-grade steers are making up to 402c/kg in the northwest, while R-grade heifers are making 408c/kg. Elsewhere, base quotes for heifers are 390-400c/kg.
These figures are around 5c/kg down on last week's quotes but it's the processor's plans for the immediate future that are most worrying. Farmers are at a critical juncture, with rising production costs and additional feeding needed. Further cuts to prices will result in large losses.
The best I heard for young bulls was 402c/kg for the U grades going into Donegal meats, while reports suggested a flat price of €4/kg was secured for a mix of R and U grades.
Quotes for U grades are 385-390c/kg, with R grades at 380-385c/kg. O grades are at 365-370c/kg.
On the cow front, the 370c/kg that was paid early last week by some plants is much harder to come by this week and is only available for top U-grade cows. U grades are making 350-370c/kg, while R grades are making 340-352c/kg. O+ cows are commanding up to 346c/kg in the northwest, while Os are making 310-340c/kg and P+ cows are at 300-334c/kg.
IFA livestock chairman Henry Burns accused the factories of ripping confidence out of the beef sector. He maintained that markets in the UK and across Europe were very strong and there was no basis whatsoever for the price cuts. Mr Burns added that supplies are tight and should remain so for the next few weeks.