Ray of light for sector as kill under 30,000hd
Our Galway hope in last Saturday's Aintree Grand National, Black Apalache, had to settle for second place to Tony McCoy and Don't Push It, but it was a brave effort nonetheless.
Beef has definitely had to take the runner-up spot to sheep so far this year but signs are that some effort is being made to up the prices. Firstly, and of extreme importance, the kill has finally dipped under the 30,000 mark, with last week's estimated kill at 29,600hd.
Prices just do not move when the kill is above 30,000. However, the cull cow trade was strengthening recently and this is generally a good sign. This trade is also holding up as it seems prices being paid are up by 3-6c/kg across all the categories, which is good to see even if it is two years overdue.
Tops for heifers and steers are the 319c/kg and the 328c/kg that Donegal is paying for the in-spec R and U grades. The Friesian bullocks that travelled all the way up from Cork to the northwest more than likely did not make any of those grades, but they must obviously be tops for those types also -- or else the farmer was too afraid of the grid. A lot of the plants continue to quote a base of 294-297c/kg for the bullocks and 300-302c/kg for the heifers. Many of the AIBP, Dawn and Kepak plants as well as Moyvalley, Dunbia and Slaney are associated with those figures.
Quite a few farmers are trying and succeeding to get flat prices at the moment. I heard of continental R-grade underage heifers making 314c/kg in Duleek last week with the overage heifers and steers making 302c/kg. Kildare was also mentioned at this price for similar-type bullocks. Kepak Clonee is on a base of 294c/kg for the steers and 308c/kg for the heifers. For the young, R-grade bulls they are offering 302c/kg and 314c/kg for the Us.
None of the figures mentioned above include the quality-assurance payment of 6c/kg. Make sure you are clear on this bonus before you sell.
The general range for the cull cows is from 246c/kg to 258c/kg with top prices of 269-280c/kg for good, heavy, well-fleshed animals
Bord Bia reported the cattle trade showed slight signs of improvement despite ongoing strong supplies, with trade helped by demand holding up across some of the key European markets. Quotes for R-grade steers under the quality payment system rose slightly and are now making a base reference price of between 297c/kg and 300c/kg with more reported to be available in some cases.