Factory beef processors are extremely reluctant to move base price forward and are – generally speaking – holding quotes at the same level as last week.
However, while base price may be holding and respective Quality Assurance (QA), grid and breed bonuses are all still in place, additional bonuses are being offered in some cases to secure cattle without moving on last week’s base price.
Seven weeks ago, cattle price began to come back from its peak-price this year and 10c/kg was taken off heifers and steers over a two-week period, while cows have generally held at the same price.
Now, pressure is coming on processors to move base price back up again as supplies on the ground are tight and demand appears to be remaining strong.
Last week, at least one processor relented and moved quotes forward by 5c/kg across all lots.
In response to upward pressure coming on cattle price, factories are digging their heels in on base-price but are – in some cases – offering bonuses on different types of cattle with certain carcass specifications in an effort to secure beef for processing.
Conversations with agents around the country this morning would indicate factories are hot on the hunt for all sorts of stock this week, with some agents being told by cattle-procurement managers in factories to “bring on anything yous can bring”.
Farmers with cattle ready to go this week will likely have no trouble getting a day to book their stock in this week.
Starting with heifers, €4.25/kg on the grid seems to be top price this week for heifers with most processors quoting €4.20/kg.
Steer quotes are coming in 5c/kg short of heifer quotes with a base price of €4.20/kg at the higher end of the scale and €4.15/kg being the general run this week.
Breed bonuses are still in place for both Angus and Hereford heifers and steers of 20c/kg and 10c/kg respectively.
Some factories are willing to cover haulage costs while others tend not to, but may offer an additional 5c to 10c/kg more for well-fleshed, in-spec stock with carcass weights of between 300kg and 400kg.
Cow price has generally held again this week but some processors have noted they will pay a 5c/kg bonus for Quality Assured cows, while others have confirmed they will be willing to negotiate on good, well-fleshed beef cows.
U-grade cows are being quoted at a flat price of €3.90/kg with €3.80, €3.60 and €3.50/kg available for R, O and P-grade cows respectively.
Looking at under-24 month bulls, a flat price of €4.20, €4.10 and €4.00/kg for U, R and O-grade bulls respectively is on offer this week for bulls, with more money again available for farmers with well-finished bulls and factories striking deals with farmers on a case-by-case basis.
Finally, under-16 month bulls are being quoted at €4.15/kg on the grid, with factories appearing fairly keen for bulls aswell as all other categories of cattle this week.
Farmers are well aware that the ball is firmly in their court this week when negotiating on cattle price, and shouldn’t be afraid to take a tough stance and strike a hard bargain when sending cattle to the factory this week.