Sellers thwart efforts to pull prices below €4/kg
There will not be any Valentine's cards exchanged between farmer and factory today as the latter continues its effort to pull the steer prices below the €4/kg mark.
Hardened sellers are holding out for, and in many cases securing, €4/kg but the processors are extremely anxious to buy at no more than 395c/kg, with quotes generally at 390-395c/kg.
Similarly, the quotes for the heifers have been dragged towards the €4/kg but prices of 405-410c/kg are being negotiated. Heifers being killed in the northwest this week have been bought at prices as high as 418c/kg. There are some returns of 415c/kg flat for R grades being reported.
The big positive for the farmer is the low weekly kill figure, with last week's estimated kill of 26,427 being some 4,100hd behind the same week last year.
The most negative vibes coming from the plants are probably in relation to the bulls. Not only have they pulled the quotes but they are also pretty critical of the large percentage of very heavy carcasses.
The top of what I heard pricewise was 405c/lkg for a mix of R and U grades. Quotes for the Us are at 400-406c/kg, with the R grades at 390-394c/kg, but prices of up to €4 are being bargained for.
Quotes for the Os vary from 375-388c/kg. One of the lower O quotes comes from Moyvalley, who has recently taken on former Dunbia man Conor Ryan, so maybe that could be a starting point for a man regarded by many farmers as tough but fair.
IFA national livestock chairman Henry Burns said factories were actively looking for steers this week and paying €4/kg to get supplies. He said steers were scarce and farmers were not prepared to part with cattle at less than a base of €4/kg. On heifers, he said factories were paying €4.05-4.10/kg, with higher prices for specialist lots.