Farm Ireland

Monday 19 March 2018

Quotes fall away by up to 6c/kg as kill stays strong


Joe Healy

Beef quotes have fallen for the second week in a row, while the weekly kill remains strong. Some 29,230hd were slaughtered last week, compared with 28,850 in the corresponding week last year.

Donegal Meats remains on top but has reduced its quote for in-spec steers by 6c/kg to 361c/kg and 364c/kg for the R and U grades respectively, while heifers are making 3c/kg more.

Elsewhere, the base price on the grid is generally 355-358c/kg for the steers and 360-363c/kg for the heifers. Plants up and down the country are pretty similar on quotes but actual prices paid can vary a bit depending on how hard the farmer can bargain. Some finishers have held out for and secured up to 366c/kg for steers and up to 370c/kg for heifers.

U-grade young bulls are making 364-372c/kg, while Rs are generally in the 355-364c/kg range, with the O grades at 342-348c/kg. Some plants appear to be more sticky on weights and ages for young bulls.

Commenting on the trade, the IFA's Michael Doran said that with numbers of prime cattle extremely scarce, farmers selling those types were negotiating prices of 6c/kg over the quoted figure.

ICSA livestock prices co-ordinator John Cleary called on meat factories to display the average price per kilo paid for loads of cattle on dockets.

Mr Cleary said transparency around pricing was urgently required in order to restore farmer confidence in the whole pricing system.

"With the huge variety of prices paid on the grid, it is becoming more difficult for farmers to be able to compare prices at a glance," he said. "In addition, giving an average price would lead to a more balanced view of the new grid pricing system and enable farmers to compare grid prices with flat prices.

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The proposal would see the average price paid per kilo for the entire load highlighted at the top of the page, while the normal process of outlining the grades, fat scores and prices for each individual animal would continue.

Cull cows seem to be under the most pressure at the moment. Donegal is now only offering 311c/kg for the O+ over 320kg. Thereafter, around the country, the P + cows are at 280-286c/kg plus 11c/kg if they kill out over 364kg. The O grades are at 291-302c/kg plus the 11c/kg. The base for R grades appears to vary from 300-308c/kg, with 319c/kg on offer for the heavy type. The best of the cows are at 314-325c/kg.

Meanwhile, Bord Bia reported that the cattle trade eased slightly over the past week in response to strong supplies and static demand.

Quotes for R-grade steers under the Quality Payment System were around €3.55-3.60/kg, while heifer quotes were €3.60-3.65/kg. These prices exclude the 6c/kg on in-spec Quality Assured stock. The cow trade eased slightly, with grade cows making €2.97-3.14/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 that are being somewhat offset by stronger young bull supplies.

In the UK, trade remained largely unchanged over the past week. Some seasonal easing from round cuts to steak cuts and visible leans was evident.

Reported cattle prices from the AHDB have eased slightly, with GB R4L grade steers averaging Stg305.5p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 360c/kg including VAT deadweight) for the week ended June 4.

On the continent, there was little change to report in the trade. In France, Irish steer hinds remained at €5.47/kg.

Indo Farming