Foyle Meats con­tinue to turn up the heat on prices

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

Steers Heifers Cull Cows Young Bulls AN­OTHER week has slipped by with prices for steers con­tin­u­ing to re­main static at €3.75/kg and heifers on €3.85/kg among the ma­jor­ity of fac­to­ries.

Foyle Meats in Done­gal, how­ever, con­tin­ued to turn up the heat on the op­po­si­tion yes­ter­day with their €3.85/kg base for bul­locks and €3.95/ kg for heifers.

Re­ports of 5c/kg above that gen­eral run of €3.75/g for bul­locks be­ing avail­able among more south­ern-based plants is in all prob­a­bil­ity true but those get­ting that 5c/ kg are pos­si­bly tick­ing a few fac­tory boxes that aren’t on any grid.

The is­sue of whether it pays a fac­tory bet­ter on oc­ca­sion to buy cat­tle that are over 30 months, and that, as a re­sult, don’t qual­ify for the 12c/kg qual­ity as­sur­ance pay­ment while still orig­i­nat­ing on qual­ity as­sured farms raises some in­ter­est­ing points.

Firstly not all con­tracts be­ing filled by the pro­ces­sors re­quire un­der 30-month beef, the big re­quire­ment for many out­lets is that the beef comes from qual­ity as­sured farms.

Do­ing the fig­ures on a 380kg over 30-month car­case ver­sus an equiv­a­lent un­der 30-month an­i­mal, the fac­tory saves .12c/kg x 380kgs = €45.60.

Once you com­pare two sim­i­lar grade and weight car­cases but where one qual­i­fies for qual­ity as­sur­ance and the other doesn’t but both orig­i­nate from qual­ity as­sured herds, the sav­ing on that €380kg car­case to the fac­tory ex­pands to €91.20.

The word on the ground is that those with an­i­mals from QA ap­proved farms around that 340-380kg mark but over 30 months are the ones as likely as any to squeeze a lit­tle bit more out of the fac­to­ries on the base price.

There are re­ports that fac­tory buy­ers happy to pay that bit more on the base es­pe­cially if the stock in­volved are bet­ter O grades.

It’s all about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween QA, base price, weight and grade.

Cow prices slipped last week by be­tween 5-10c/kg, with R grades re­ported as not achiev­ing any more than €3.30/kg, Os back to €3.10/kg and P+s rang­ing from €2.802.90/kg.

Bulls seem to have set­tled at €3.95-4.00/kg for U grades, with Rs on €3.85/kg, while O grades are on €3.70/kg.

Grid

Mean­while, I noted that in last week’s five-page spe­cial on the fu­ture of suck­ling farm­ing that Cor­mac Healy of Meat In­dus­try Ire­land (MII) stated that in re­la­tion to the QPS, “pro­ducer calls have been made for the price dif­fer­en­tials be­tween grades to be in­creased”.

The ICMSA has been call­ing for years for such a re­view of the QPS, and last year Paul Nolan of Dawn Meats also went on the record as look­ing for the beef grid to be over­hauled.

While I be­lieve that a re­view of the en­tire sys­tem of fac­tory pay­ment is long over­due, it is my be­lief that farm­ers should how­ever be wary of se­lec­tive changes prompted from within the in­dus­try when it comes to chang­ing the grid.

For now, how­ever, the ad­vance made by the Car­ri­g­ans plant in the broad­en­ing of the Qual­ity As­sur­ance base is a real price div­i­dend and shows that some within the pro­cess­ing sec­tor have been lis­ten­ing to farmer con­cerns.

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