Plants worry the pitch by playing waiting game
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