Christ­mas has come early for the beef sec­tor

Irish Independent - Farming - - BEEF RINGSIDE - Grid Quote Range E U Gen­eral Prices Paid R O Tops Re­ported P

Steers Heifers Cull Cows Young Bulls PRICES con­tinue on their up­ward tra­jec­tory this week. Bul­locks moved up to bases of €3.95-4.00/kg with heifers re­ported as sell­ing from €4.05-4.10/kg with €4.15 be­ing paid on spe­cial or­ders.

U bulls up to 24 months are on €4.10 with €4.15/kg re­port­edly avail­able in places. R grades move to €4.00/ kg with Os on €3.90. That O grade price may be a lit­tle harder to se­cure than some of the prices men­tioned for bet­ter qual­ity. Re­ports con­tinue of €3.90/kg been given for un­der 16-month Friesians.

Cull cows have moved up about 5-10c/kg with Rs trad­ing from €3.60-3.65/kg back to €3.20-3.30/kg for your bet­ter P grade while O grades see their price harden to be­tween €3.40-3.45/kg.

With strong de­mand for beef con­tin­u­ing from the fac­to­ries, the ques­tion of sup­ply re­mains. Last week saw just over 38,000 cat­tle killed. Num­bers will ease, but by how much? Only time will tell.

As we move to the end of 2017 how will those in the cat­tle fat­ten­ing busi­ness re­mem­ber the year? For some peo­ple in the busi­ness, it was a rev­e­la­tion that prices do not au­to­mat­i­cally stag­nate or fall once weekly kills reach the 30,000-32,000 mark.

The year opened with bul­lock prices on a base of be­tween €3.75-3.80/kg with heifers on €3.85-3.90/kg. It was well into April be­fore €3.90/kg was reached for steers, but once that hap­pened we were at €4.05/ kg by the end of the month with heifers by then clos­ing in on €4.10-4.15/kg.

By the end of May we had reached the crest of the wave as bul­locks hit €4.15-4.20/kg with heifers gen­er­ally on €4.25-4.30 and select deals done at €4.35.

Bulls by now were on €4.20/kg for Us back to €4.05-3.90 for Os.

But as July opened the slide was on, and by the first week of Au­gust base prices for bul­locks had dipped as low as €3.70/kg in some places.

The re­al­ity was that at €3.70/kg grass fin­ish­ers were ac­tu­ally in a bet­ter place than their win­ter fin­ish­ing coun­ter­parts who had taken €3.75-3.80/kg in the first three months of the year.

Poor au­tumn weather and the ex­tra num­bers of fin­ished cat­tle be­gan to be felt by Septem­ber.

Fac­tory prices threat­ened to slide fur­ther in Oc­to­ber. Then some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary be­gan to hap­pen. As we en­tered Novem­ber, and with kill num­bers stay­ing stub­bornly high at 34,00036,000 per week, fac­tory de­mand ac­tu­ally be­gan to in­crease and with it prices.

Week on week through Novem­ber and into De­cem­ber, num­bers went ever up­wards fol­lowed by fac­tory prices with fac­tory de­mand seem­ing in­sa­tiable.

The 40,000 head bar­rier was bro­ken in the last week in Novem­ber with bul­locks gen­er­ally on €3.90/kg and heifer’s €4.00-4.05. To­day ev­ery­thing is 5-10c/kg stronger again. It is in­deed a Happy Christ­mas for some.

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