Farm Ireland

Saturday 17 March 2018

Tight supplies help farmers gain 6c/kg on top of base quote

Joe Healy

While probably not in the same mould as our Taoiseach, it is also proving difficult to get any significant movement out of the beef factories at the moment. After an expensive winter, finishers were expecting -- and hoping -- that further price increases would have occurred.

Steer base quotes remain in the 330-336c/kg bracket, with heifer quotes at 336-345c/kg. It is important to remember that, with supplies tight and factories anxious for stock, farmers are successfully bargaining for 3-6c/kg above those figures, in addition to the quality assurance bonus.

The estimated kill for last week was 26,540hd, which is more than 3,200 down on the same week last year. Plants mentioned in the quote range above for steers and heifers include Dawn, AIBP, Kepak, Dunbia, Eurofarm, Slaney, Moyvalley and Kildare Chilling. Kepak Athleague's 345c/kg base for the heifers leaves it as one of the better plants to go to if you are selling females under 36 months. Reports suggest that its factory in Clonee is also fit for good, young heifers.

The in-spec heifers going into Donegal Meats are making 330c/kg, 339c/kg, 350c/kg and 361c/kg for the O, O+, R and U grades respectively. Steers are making 3c/kg less.

Young bulls going into the northwest plant are making 339c/kg for the Rs and 347c/kg for the Us. Elsewhere, quotes for U grades are almost all at 347-350c/kg. The R grades are at 336-342c/kg, with the Os at 322-330c/kg.

The IFA's Michael Doran said that cattle prices have continued to harden, with steers making 340-348c/kg and bulls at 350-360c/kg.

The tops for cull cows is 308c/kg. Most plants are quoting a general run of 280-294c/kg, with 302-308c/kg offered for the good, heavy cows. Some farmers are holding out for flat prices of 308c/kg for a mix of Os and Rs.

Bord Bia reported that the cattle trade remained firm last week, reflecting tighter domestic supplies and an overseas demand boosted by seasonal restocking. Combined with on-going demand for European beef from Turkey and Russia, this is driving trade across continental Europe.

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Quotes for R-grade steers under the Quality Payment System were steady, with prices quoted at around 330-336c/kg. Heifer prices increased slightly, with base quotes at 338-343c/kg.

These prices exclude the 6c on in-spec quality assured stock. Cow prices remain firm, with quotes at 280-291c/kg, reflecting strong manufacturing demand.

Trade was reportedly quieter than usual in Britain as some carryover from Christmas supplies materialised. Demand for round and steak cuts is seasonally quiet, while forequarter product is strengthening.

Reported cattle prices eased slightly, with GB R4L grade steers averaging Stg291.8p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 364c/kg including VAT dw) for the week ended January 8.

Indo Farming