‘Heavy-handed weight limits’ lead to reports of beef price cuts

Reports of beef price cuts have emerged this week as a result of “heavy-handed weight limits”, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association’s (ICSA’s) beef chairman Edmund Graham.

Graham claimed that unworkable weight limits could be back on the horizon, following reports of cuts being imposed on weights exceeding 380kg.

“We are aware of at least one factory only paying up to 380kg and cutting 10c for every 20kg thereafter. This is very disconcerting and the worry would be of the practice becoming more widespread.

This is unacceptable for farmers breeding quality suckler cattle, particularly at a time when the suckler sector needs all the support it can get.

“Indeed, this move by factories could potentially lead to questions regarding the merit of supporting suckler farmers at all, if quality continental suckler cattle can’t maximise their potential.

“Beef is relatively scarce at present and factories are anxious for cattle, yet still we are seeing heavy-handed weight limits being imposed,” Graham said.

These kinds of weight limits are “totally unworkable for continental-bred sucklers” and will also take away any chance of the beef finisher making a margin, the beef chairman explained.

Beef prices

Earlier this week, AgriLand reported that factory buyers were offering 395-400c/kg for steers and 405-410c/kg for heifers. However, some deals are being done at higher prices.

As has been the case in recent weeks, cow prices continued to be steady. Factory buyers were starting negotiations with farmers at 320c/kg for P-grade cows, 330c/kg for O-grade animals and 350c/kg for R-grade lots.

After the snow affected trading during the week ending March 4, beef cattle supplies returned to more normalised levels during the week ending March 11.

In total, some 36,920 cattle were processed in Department of Agriculture approved beef export plants; steer and heifer throughput stood at 13,330 head and 9,647 head respectively.