Factories consider closing as ‘cold snap’ approaches

A number of factories – both sheepmeat and beef – are currently looking at the possibility of ceasing processing this week, as a ‘cold snap’ approaches.

With up to 6cm of snow expected, numerous factories are bracing for the worst and will cease processing if conditions make it dangerous to travel either to or from the processing facility, AgriLand understands.

In the interest of health and safety – for both staff and suppliers – a number of processors are expected to make announcements on possible closures once they see what the weather brings over the next couple of days.

Already, Met Eireann has issued a Status Orange snow and ice warning for the counties of Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Laois, Louth, Wicklow and Meath.

Scattered snow showers are forecast for later tomorrow and into tomorrow night. These will lead to accumulations of between 4cm and 6cm by Wednesday morning. Widespread frost and icy conditions are also likely. Up to 6cm of snow expected as multiple weather warnings issued

Forced to close for the second time in four months

With closures likely, it could be the second time that beef and sheepmeat processors have been forced to close their gates in just over four months.

Back in October 2017, a number of processing facilities closed due to the impacts of hurricane Ophelia. In addition, more than 20 marts cancelled trading during this spell, as hurricane-like conditions grasped much of the country.

What are factories offering?

Despite the uncertain outlook for processing over the next couple of days, beef buyers are currently offering 390-395c/kg for steers and 400-405c/kg for heifers.

In addition, cow prices continue to remain firm. Factory buyers are currently starting negotiations with farmers at 325c/kg for P-grade cows, 330c/kg for O-grade animals and 350c/kg for R-grade lots.

Moving on to sheep, factory buyers quoting 530-540c/kg for hoggets (excluding Quality Assurance bonuses), while ewe quotes are largely unchanged from last week at 290c/kg.