Farm Ireland

Monday 19 February 2018

Up to 415c/kg available for mix of R and U grade cull cows

Joe Healy

The good news on our bank debt deal with the EU hasn't been the only good deal done over the past week. Farmers and finishers with "numbers" are negotiating very strong prices for their stock.

The top price I heard across the categories were 415c/kg for a mix of mainly R and some U grade cull cows, 440c/kg for in-spec heifers, 438c/kg on the grid for underage and overage heifers, 438c/kg for a mix of R and U grade bulls and 420-425c/kg flat for Friesian bullocks. Those prices are helping to maintain confidence in the industry and is ensuring that, unlike the €9 received for each of the e-voting machines, farmers are getting a return on the high prices they paid for stock when buying them in.

Generally, the steers are at a range of 420-425c/kg base. The in-spec Rs are making 432c/kg in the northwest, with the U grades at 444c/kg. Most of the plants are on a base of 430-435c/kg for the heifers, with the northwest plant paying 438c/kg and 450c/kg for the Rs and Us respectively. The 440c/kg for the Rs was paid in the northeast.

Deals of up to 435c/kg for a mix of R and U grade bulls have been done. General quotes for the U grades range from 430c/kg to 435c/kg, with the Rs at 420-430c/kg. O grade quotes vary from 405c/kg to 414c/kg.

IFA livestock chairman Henry Burns said that with last week's estimated kill at 24,350hd, it was clear that supplies remained very tight.

As a result, factories were having to pay above the quotes in most cases to get stock, with farmers holding out for base prices of up to 425c/kg for the steers and up to 435c/kg for the heifers, while finishers with good young bulls were negotiating prices of up to 435c/kg for mixes of Rs and Us.

Despite continuing talk and efforts to pull the price for the plainer type cull cows, the fact is that quotes and prices for all types show little or no change over the past few weeks.

While quotes from most of the plants for the top quality lots range from 390c/kg to 400c/kg, most farmers with a few cows and who are good at selling are getting a minimum of 400c/kg. Apart from the 415c/kg mentioned earlier, I'm also aware of 412c/kg received elsewhere. Both prices were for a mix of R and U grades. Quotes for the Rs remain at 380-400c/kg. O grades vary from 364c/kg to 382c/kg, while the P+ cows are at 350-370c/kg.

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According to the latest figures from Bord Bia, cattle supplies are running almost 16pc or 118,000hd below last year's levels.

In Britain, the beef trade was somewhat subdued last week, with market demand being described as flat. Similar to previous weeks, both round cuts and steak cuts were slower to move, while demand for forequarter product remains steady.

Reported cattle prices from the AHDB firmed with GB R4L grade steers averaging at 347.6p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 454c/kg including VAT deadweight) for the week ended June 23.

On the Continent, trade across most of the key markets is expected to improve as weather conditions throughout Europe show signs of improvement.

Despite higher consumer prices for beef on the German market, retail demand has increased by almost 1pc from the beginning of the year up until the end of May.

In France, Irish steer hinds are making between €5.58-5.78/kg. R3 young bulls in Germany were back 1/c to €4.01/kg, with O3 cow prices remain unchanged at €3.51/kg. In Italy, R3 young bulls are making €4.10/kg, while O3 cows are making €3.19/kg.

Indo Farming