Plants worry the pitch by play­ing wait­ing game

Irish Independent - Farming - - RINGSIDE BEEF - Martin Cough­lan

IN the mid­dle of last week deals were be­ing done at €3.80/kg for bul­locks with bet­ter-type heifers mak­ing up to €3.85/kg; yet by the week­end agents were once again quot­ing €3.70/kg for bul­locks, with 3.75/kg hard got. Mean­while on the heifer side, the gen­eral go ap­peared to be €3.75/kg, with €3.80/kg dif­fi­cult but not im­pos­si­ble.

With yes­ter­day a bank hol­i­day, fac­to­ries ap­pear be play­ing the game of wait­ing to see how num­bers de­velop be­fore mak­ing any fur­ther de­ci­sions on price. The weather has also become a factor par­tic­u­larly around the Shannon and in the west as weeks of on-and-off heavy rain have taken their toll on ground con­di­tions.

Never miss­ing an op­por­tu­nity to worry the pitch fur­ther, some plants in these re­gions were not will­ing to quote, wait­ing to see just how busy their phones may yet become.

Still, the gen­eral feel­ing is that while quotes for bul­locks and heifers had weak­ened by 5c/kg, that was not the same as say­ing that ac­tual av­er­age prices were in de­cline.

Quotes for cull cows also sta­bilised, with R-grades on a top of €3.20-3.30/kg, while Os and bet­ter Ps av­er­aged €2.903.00/kg, although up to €3.10/ kg was re­ported for num­bers of these types.

On the ques­tion of num­bers, fig­ures from the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture show that for the week end­ing July 26, 34,104 steers, heifers, young bulls and cull cows went through ex­port plants slightly less than the 34,232 for the same week last year.

Within those fig­ures there are some sig­nif­i­cant changes from 12 months ago, how­ever. Cull cows rose 452 to 8,035 but heifer num­bers dropped 517 to 8,814. The switch from bull pro­duc­tion to steers on fin­ish­ing farms is also marked. At 15,535 the steer kill is up 1,857, while young bulls dropped by 2,010 to just 1,630.

TD De­nis Naugh­ten con­tin­ues his pur­suit of an­swers in the Dáil con­cern­ing De­part­ment data that shows two grad­ing ma­chines were turned off re­cently. He tells me no mean­ing­ful in­for­ma­tion has been re­leased as to the where or why this hap­pened.

The weather is a factor, par­tic­u­larly around the Shannon and in the west

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