Farm Ireland

Friday 23 March 2018

Slurry extension talks continue as factories squeeze finishers

Joe Healy

Confirmation that the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, is attempting to get a further extension on the slurry spreading deadline beyond Wednesday of next week will be welcomed by farmers throughout the country.

Speaking at last week's CAP information meetings, the minister confirmed that officials in his department had been in contact with their counterparts in the Department of the Environment to see if a further extension was possible. Farmers will be praying for a positive response.

To matters of equal importance, farmers feel totally let down, insulted and betrayed by the processors as they squeeze the life out of Irish finishers.

Here in Ireland, R grade steer prices are 380c/kg while across the water in Britain, the factories are willing to pay around 80c/kg more for a similar animal. It absolutely beggars belief how this can be allowed to happen, but it is and for quite a while at this stage.

The base for steers remains at 380-385c/kg, with heifers at 395-400c/kg, even though there are a few plants trying to quote as low as 390c/kg.

Prices for stock in the northwest are running higher, with in-spec R grade steers making 402c/kg and heifers making 408c/kg. A 400c/kg quote for heifers is more common in the northeast.

Many farmers are doing deals with factories in the north and anyone I have spoken to said it was well worth their while. As well as negotiating significantly higher prices, deals are also being done on transport costs.

Back to the south again and deals of 400-402c/kg for U grade bulls have and are being done, while the quotes are generally at 395c/kg with some sticking to the 390c/kg.

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Quotes and prices for Rs range from 380-390c/kg. O grades are making from 365-370c/kg with the general run of Ps making from 350-355c/kg.

Demand for cull cows seems livelier this week. U grades are commanding 350-360c/kg while Rs are in a range of 330-352c/kg.

O-grade cows sold for 320-346c/kg, with the majority sold for 320-330c/kg. P+ cows sold for 300-334c/kg.

Agents say quite a number of under-finished cows are being offered for slaughter as farmers are anxious to save on winter fodder.

These would be much better sold through the marts as stores for further feeding.

According to Bord Bia cattle supplies to date this year are running around 14pc or 173,200 head behind last year's levels. Last week's estimated kill was 32,900hd which was approximately 1,250hd less than the corresponding week last year.

Trade was described as reasonable in the UK, with demand for forequarter product showing signs of improvement over the past week.

However, this is being offset by weak trade for steaks and roundcuts.

Reported cattle prices from the AHDB increased slightly, with GB R4L grade steers averaging Stg357.9pence/kg dw (equivalent to 463c/kg incl VAT dw) for the week ended 13th October.

In France, Irish steer hinds are also still making up to €5.79kg inclusive of VAT.

R3 young bulls in Germany rose by 1c to €4.28/kg, with O3 cow prices back by 6c to €3.32/kg. In Italy, R3 young bulls eased by 1/c to €4.29/kg, while O3 cow prices fell by 7/c to €3.13kg.

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