Beef trade: Farmers in a better negotiating position this week

This week, farmers with factory-fit cattle are in a better position when it comes to negotiations with factory agents.

Although agents are quoting 370-375c/kg for bullocks and 380-385c/kg for heifers, beef finishers should bargain hard when it comes to marketing their stock.

Some farmers are finding that there is an extra 5c/kg on the table for in-spec animals.

The cow trade has also strengthened somewhat in recent days. Where 290c/kg was on offer for P-grade cows last, this has now lifted to 300c/kg.

O-grade cows are operating off 310-320c/kg, while R-grades are making 320-335c/kg. Farmers with U-grade cows are receiving up to 350c/kg.

The location and demand of individual processing plants plays a role in the price being quoted to farmers for cows.

Cattle throughput

The number of cattle processed in Department of Agriculture approved beef export plants fell by 511 head during the week ending October 7.

The total kill for that week amounted to 38,744 head. Looking at individual categories, we can see that the number of young bulls processed increased by 50 – amounting to 2,799 head.

There was a decrease in the number of aged bulls presented for slaughter; 578 aged bulls were processed – down from 923 the week previous.

In addition, there was a fall in steer slaughterings. During the week ending October 7, 17,189 bullocks were bought by beef factories – a fall of 140 head.

The cow kill increased marginally. The total number sent for slaughter was 8,505 head – a jump of 129 head. Moreover, the heifer category witnessed a decrease, with supplies falling by 229 head – amounting to 9,636 head.

Week-on-week beef kill changes (week ending October 7):
  • Young bulls: 2,799 head (-50 head or -1.8%);
  • Bulls: 578 head (-345 head or -37%);
  • Steers: 17,189 head (-140 head or -140%);
  • Cows: 8,505 head (+129 head or +1.5%);
  • Heifers: 9,636 head (-229 head or -2.3%);
  • Total: 38,744 head (-511 head or -1.3%).

Two protests in two weeks

A number of farmers have gathered this morning (Monday, October 15) outside the gates of the Dawn Meats’ factory in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo, in protest over the current state of the beef price.

This is the second protest organised by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) in recent weeks. Earlier this month, frustrated farmers brought ABP’s plant in Clones, Co. Monaghan, to a standstill.

Also Read: ICSA beef price protest brings ABP plant to standstill

On Friday, October 5, large crowds of frustrated farmers protested outside ABP to reflect the anger at continuous cuts in beef price by meat factories.

These protests have been organised because farmers in the beef sector believe they have been ‘crucified by beef price cuts’ in a year when farmers have substantial extra costs due to extreme weather.