After a few glorious weeks of high temperatures, sun shining and beef rising in price, this week’s factory quotes would indicate the rising price trend is beginning to flatten off.
While demand remains strong for Irish beef, factories, for the second week running, have held quotes for beef at the same level as last week. Here’s how this week’s quotes are looking:
Heifers and steers
To begin with, looking at heifers, the general run of quotes across the board seems to be a base price of €4.30/kg. Some factories are putting forward quotes of €4.25/kg base but make up for the difference with a further in-spec carcass bonus of up to 10c/kg.
Meanwhile, steers appear to be coming in at €4.25/kg on the grid. Again, some factories are putting forward base quotes that are 5c/kg shy of this (€4.20/kg) but have additional bonus systems bringing price up to matching and surpassing the €4.25/kg mark – for in-spec beef cattle.
Quality Assured (QA) cattle receive an additional 20c/kg bonus if they grade above an ‘O-‘ and are a ‘2+’ or above in flesh, but not over a 4= in flesh.
Many farmers have pulled well-fleshed heifers from groups of cattle on grass for the factory and farmers have told Agriland, cattle are grading surprisingly well.
Bullocks, especially continentals, tend to stay lean for a while longer and farmers who are feeding bullocks meal out on grass are currently getting away well when presenting well-fleshed bullocks for slaughter as factory quotes remain strong.
On the cow price front this week, there appears to be more evidence of mixed messaging.
Most factories have held cow quotes for the week ahead, however, some factories – that are less keen on securing cows this week – have cited quotes 5c/kg short of last week’s prices.
Generally speaking, cow quotes to farmers are coming in at flat prices of €3.50 for P-grade cows, €3.60 for O-grades, €3.80 for R-grade cows and €3.90/€4.00 for good U-grading cows – with some factories beginning negotiations with farmers at 5c/kg below these quotes.
Again, there is still scope for negotiation on cow price – especially where a number of well-fleshed beef cows are available for slaughter.
Finally, under-16 month bulls are being quoted at approximately €4.20/kg on the grid this week, with under-24 month bulls coming in at flat prices of €4/kg for P-grade bulls, €4.10 for O-grades, €4.20 for R-grades and €4.30 for U-grade bulls.
While factory quotes may have stopped increasing for now, generally speaking, most farmers will be pleasantly surprised with the cheque for their beef cattle this year.
A steady base price for a prolonged period is preferable to most farmers than a further rise and then a sharp drop later on in the year.