Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 March 2018

Strong quotes as supplies remain 21pc lower than 2011

Joe Healy

The Ulster Bank, Ireland's rugby team and the Laois and Westmeath hurlers may all have suffered some form of a meltdown over the past week, but thankfully there is no such disaster on the beef front as quotes and prices remain very strong.

Supplies, or lack of them, is helping the trade. As is the favourable euro/sterling exchange rate and the continuing strong demand for stock.

Supplies remain tight with last week's estimated kill of 23,772hd running at some 6,700hd below 2011 levels. For May the total kill of 117,600hd was 13.1pc down on the 135,400hd killed in May 2011.

For the January to May period, the kill for this year ran at 12.9pc below the kill for the same period in 2011. June will not do anything to close the gap either, with the past three weeks showing an average fall in supplies at the slaughtering plants of approximately 6,200hd/week.

Indeed, the kill for these weeks is 21pc behind last year's levels.

Add in the recent poor weather and you would be forgiven for thinking that if we did get a fine spell, supplies could really tighten up and fall well below their current low levels.

As for quotes and prices, steers seem to remain at a range of 420-425c/kg on the QPS. In-spec R grades are making 432c/kg up in the northwest, with the Us at 444c/kg.

The In-spec R and U grade heifers are at 438c/kg and 450c/kg respectively. I also heard of 425c/kg flat for a mix of R and U grades, while rumour had it that 415-420c/kg flat for good Friesian steers was also being negotiated.

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Elsewhere, the base price for the heifers varies between 430c/kg and 435c/kg, with 440c/kg still mentioned for In-spec heifers in the northeast.

Competition for young bulls has resulted in up to 430c/kg flat being paid for a mix of R and Us.

Individually, the quotes and prices being mentioned for the U grades run from 425c/kg to 432c/kg, with the Rs at 420-425c/kg.

The O grades including the O- bulls make 405-415c/kg.

There is no change on the cull cows. Good continental U grades are commanding 390-400c/kg, with the Rs making 370-400c/kg. O grade cows are ranging from 364c/kg to 382c/kg.

A word of advice on the cows, especially the plainer Friesian type: ensure they are fit for slaughter before you kill them.

One factory man told me yesterday morning that farmers were losing out by not putting in a bit more feed to improve fat score and therefore price.

The beef trade was described as remaining steady over the past week.

Trade for both round cuts and steak cuts was reportedly flat. Demand was being reported as buoyant for forequarter cuts and VLs.

Reported cattle prices from the AHDB have firmed with GB R4L grade steers averaging at Stg346 p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 452c/kg including VAT deadweight) for the week ended June 16.

On the Continent, trade across most of the key markets showed little change.

Demand continues to seasonally improve for steak cuts, while demand for round and forequarter cuts remains somewhat quieter.

In France, Irish steer hinds are making around €5.79/kg. R3 young bulls in Germany were up 5/c to €4.02/kg, with O3 cows increasing by 2/c to €3.351kg. In Italy, R3 young bulls are up 8/c to €4.00/kg, while O3 cows increased by 2/c to €3.08/kg.

Indo Farming