Factories are just about managing to keep a lid on quotes for the past week.
Most bullocks are now being purchased at €3.75/kg to €3.80/kg. Heifers are generally moving at €3.80/kg to €3.85/kg.
Foyle Meats in Donegal has been the first to break ranks from the rest, offering a €3.85/kg base price with an added bonus of 10c/kg for carcasses killing out between 300kg and 380kg and on top of the in-spec payment of 20c/kg.
Breed bonuses are also being paid at 10c to 15c/kg, depending on breed. Foyle always quotes well for what it wants.
Fall outside of this and the farmer pays through no bonuses and cuts, but some can live with this.
Elsewhere, hard sellers are getting more out of the market.
With finished cattle supplies not increasing and demand increasing, factories will be forced to pay more in the coming weeks.
At the moment, factory procurement managers are adopting the old mantra to agents and that is “buy them as cheap as you can but don’t leave them behind you”.
Flat deals are being completed on plainer stock at €4.00 to €4.10/kg all in, with some factories paying haulage to get them.
Bulls are moving at €3.80/kg to €3.85/kg for R grading bulls, while U grading bulls are being quoted at €3.90/kg to €3.95/kg.
O grading dairy bulls are back at €3.70/kg to €3.75/kg.
Young bulls are being quoted at €3.75/kg to €3.80/kg base price before any in-spec or grid payments are included.
Cows continue to remain in good demand. P+3+ cows are now trading at €3.00/kg to €3.05/kg, with O grading cows moving to €3.10/kg to €3.15/kg.
Good-quality R grading cows are working off €3.30/kg to €3.40/kg, with €3.50/kg being paid for good numbers of well-finished suckler-bred stock.
Last week’s kill came in at 30,380 when veal slaughtering of 3,652 head is taken out.
This was almost exactly the same as last week’s kill of 30,365 head. The cow kill dropped by just under 700 cows, while the bullock and heifer kill saw small increases. The young bull kill dropped to 2,654 head, a drop of 215.
IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden said: “Market conditions are strong for beef and there is no justification for a 13c/kg price differential with the prime export benchmark price.”
Across the water in Britain, beef price continues to increase, with a lift seen in young bulls and cows in the last two weeks. The ADHB is reporting young bulls up 5.1p/kg, with steers and heifers also showing improved prices. Cows have also improved.
R4L steers are currently being quoted at £3.85/kg (€4.78/kg incl VAT).
There is more life in the beef trade in Northern Ireland this week, although base quotes remain on 370p/kg (€4.56/kg in VAT).
However, farmers selling cattle on a regular basis are finding there is 2p to 4p/kg more for in-spec animals compared with recent weeks.
Cattle are starting on 380p/kg (€4.70/kg), with deals of 386p to 388p/kg (€4.78 to €4.81/kg) on offer to regular finishers with good numbers to offload. Deals on cull cows are still running well ahead of base quotes, which remain on 275p/kg (€3.41/kg) for R3 animals but deals above 300p/kg (€3.72/kg) are common place.