Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 January 2018

Still no sign of a fall in the the cattle kill

Joe Healy

A new record was set for the Dublin City Marathon yesterday -- but farmers selling beef cattle throughout 2010 must feel like they have been running a marathon all year with a thorn in their foot.

It has just been one long, drawn-out, disillusioning and painful process. Trying to look for any chink of light as we moved into the autumn earlier this year, we looked forward towards the back-end when all expectations were that the kill figure would drop off substantially.

At one stage, the figures suggested that there was 40,000 animals less to be killed for the last 16 weeks so a reduction of an average of 2,500 cattle a week was expected. Well, we are almost at the halfway stage of those 16 weeks and there have been no signs of any drop in slaughter number.

So will there be 5,000 less a week for the remainder of the year? I'm afraid to predict but if not, then the old line of lies, damned lies and statistics will be proven to be very apt.

Having said that, when it comes to kill figures the factories, like the bookies when it comes to giving odds, very seldom get it wrong and some of them are worried about supplies for the rest of the year.

With little or no movement to the steer trade, Donegal remains tops if you have in-spec animals, with their prices of 314c/kg and 322c/kg for R and U grades respectively.

However, if those animals are out of spec, the prices are only 303c/kg and 311c/kg. This is still significantly better than the likes of Dunbia where the base for the overage animals is as low as 290c/kg. Their base quote for younger steers is 300c/kg. This, at face value, appears to be well ahead of the base quotes of 294-296c/kg that most of the rest of the plants around the country are offering.

At the prices mentioned above, Donegals lead the way for heifers also with quotes elsewhere ranging between 300-305c/kg. Kepak Clonee and Slaney are up at the higher end. There are reports of up to 308c/kg being paid for heifers.

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Quotes for the U grade young bulls range from a low of 300c/kg in Moyvalley up to 319c/kg on offer from Kepak Clonee. The general run varies between 311-316c/kg. The R grades are being quoted and priced at anything from 294c/kg up to 308c/kg.

Commenting on the trade, the IFA's Michael Doran said markets for beef across the EU were very strong and that factories were asking about cattle going into sheds for feeding to supply the Christmas trade.

Cull cows are said to have made up to 280c/kg in the northeast. Donegal and Moyvalley are paying 291-294c/kg for the best of the cows. The general run ranges from 230c/kg to 246c/kg.

Irish Independent