Grim out­look as fac­to­ries turn screw

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

Steers Heifers Cull Cows Young Bulls FAC­TORY prices are still be­ing pres­surised by high num­bers pre­sent­ing: last week’s fig­ure was 39,961.

The re­sult is fac­tory bosses con­tinue to be fear­less in se­lec­tively hit­ting the var­i­ous di­vi­sions as they deem fit. This week the pain will be most keenly felt by those with bulls, O and P grade cows and cat­tle over 36 months.

Yes­ter­day fac­to­ries eased bull quotes by another 5c/kg as the in­creas­ing sup­ply of cull cows eats into pro­ces­sors’ need for heav­ier car­cases for the man­u­fac­tur­ing beef mar­ket. This lat­est cut has left U grades on €3.80-3.85/kg, with Rs var­i­ously priced from €3.70-3.75/kg and O grades down around €3.50-3.60/kg, O grade Friesians are less.

This week last year I was re­port­ing the price range for young bulls as run­ning from €4.10/kg for U grades back to €3.80-3.85/kg for Os. On a 400kg car­case that’s up­wards of a €100 less year on year.

Add in in­creased meal, straw and silage costs plus the prospect of see­ing your an­i­mal cut 10c/kg if he goes over 420kg, and many be­lieve the job makes no sense what­so­ever.

While many tried to ease their re­place­ment buy­ing price back over the last num­ber of months in an at­tempt to stay vi­able, few fin­ish­ers could have fore­seen where we are now.

Prices for in-spec stock re­main stuck in gear at €3.75/ kg for bul­locks with heifers con­tin­u­ing on €3.85/hd, with the Car­ri­g­ans plant in Done­gal back in line with the gen­eral con­sen­sus on heifers at €3.85/ kg. Their quote for in spec 320-380kg bul­locks con­tin­ues to be 5c/kg above the op­po­si­tion at €3.80/kg. At a time when sup­plies are nor­mally tight­en­ing and fac­to­ries turn a blind eye to such is­sues as age and weight when pric­ing, this year the story is much dif­fer­ent.

Sources

Quotes I was given by sev­eral dif­fer­ent sources yes­ter­day for 36-plus-month an­i­mals ranged from €3.50-3.60/kg. And just to rub salt in the wound beware of weight limit penal­ties above 400-430kg. If you’re not sure ask.

The cull cow is also cut again with O grades slip­ping back to €2.60-2.80/kg and Ps fall­ing to €2.40/kg; R grades have held at last week’s €3.00/ kg. Some plants with spe­cific supermarket or­ders chose yes­ter­day not to quote for cows, con­cen­trat­ing on sourc­ing in-spec heifers and bul­locks.

All in all, the en­tire out­look for those with cat­tle feed­ing re­mains grim in the short term.

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