Suppliers failing to get plants to up their price
A farmer I spoke to yesterday morning, paraphrasing new Ireland manager Martin O'Neill, said that "half of the beef factories are bad cops and the other half are bad bad cops".
The quotes and prices he will be reading about in this column will do little to improve his opinion. Steer quotes are stuck at the €4/kg with non-quality assured stock being quoted a base of at least 10c/kg below this figure in places.
Most farmers are failing to get the plants up much from this even money but 405c/kg has been achieved. Heifer base quotes are generally at the 410c/kg but farmers are securing 415c/kg.
If you have plainer type O grade bulls, the North at 390c/kg plus free transport continues to be unmatched in the South where quotes are more often in the 370-380c/kg bracket. R grades are making between 390-400c/kg with the U grades at 400-410c/kg. The higher figure seems to be more associated with the midlands.
Cull cow quotes vary quite a bit with as high as 40-45c/kg of a difference between what one farmer might be quoted from one plant and what another might get from a plant elsewhere. This is especially true for the good heavy cows.
Prices of 385-390c/kg have been paid for top U grades while at the same time some farmers have sold similar cows for 350c/kg. The R grades are not much different, with a price range of 330-375c/kg being paid. We might give out about the factories keeping prices down but many farmers have no one to blame but themselves if they are losing out on up to 45c/kg. On a 400kg carcase this runs up to close on €200. Very few O grades are sold outside of a range from 310-335c/kg. P grade cows are making from 300-320c/kg.
There was little change in the cattle trade last week according to Bord Bia, which reflects steady demand for supplies as trade builds for the Christmas period. Trade is also being helped by tight supplies across our key export markets.