U grades in demand at quotes of 450-470c/kg
The beef trade is not landing any knock-out punches à la our European gold and silver medal boxers, but it is performing pretty solidly.
Some very acceptable prices have been paid in the past week, although there does seem to be an attempt to pull cow prices. Two particular plants were willing to pay 415-420c/kg for good R grade cows, while a couple of others refused to pass the €4/kg mark.
The estimated kill for last week was 25,800hd and, while this is up on the corresponding week last year, it is not a huge kill and a number of plants are finding it difficult to satisfy their demands.
It is really only in the past week or two, with the good grass growth and the warm weather, that cattle have begun to thrive properly and farmers are anxious to allow them to push on for the immediate future. One good finisher told me it was this critical period of thrive that would push cattle into significant value.
I heard of €5 flat across the board for Hereford and Angus bulls and steers, with 480c/kg flat refused. In general, U grades are being quoted and paid at 450-470c/kg. The Rs are at 445-455c/kg. Flat deals of 460c/kg are commonplace. The best I heard for O grades was 440c/kg, while some plants are quoting as low as 420c/kg.
Steer quotes and prices are in the range 450-460c/kg, but farmers need to get a few plants to quote before selling. Heifers are making 470-480c/kg, with the higher figure available from quite a few factories.
Commenting on the trade, IFA livestock chairman Henry Burns said prices were strong for steers, heifers and young bulls, especially in the south, where supplies were very tight.
He added that farmers were resisting downward pressure by the processors on cow prices, with 360-420c/kg being paid.