Some ease in factory age and weight limits as factories try to secure stock

There has been some ease in the implementation of age and weight cuts at beef factories around the country in recent weeks, according to the ICSA’s Eddie Punch.

Speaking to Agriland, the ICSA Generally Secretary said that some beef processors have moved to limit the restrictions on age and carcass weights.

In January of this year, a number of beef processors introduced price cuts on carcasses weighing over 400kg and 30 months of age, with the prices of some animals cut by 20c/kg.

However, Punch said that the tighter supply of cattle, which has been seen in recent weeks means that some processors are waving the age and weight requirements in order to secure stock.

“Factories have been very anxious to secure stock over the last three weeks and specifications are the first beneficiary of tighter cattle supplies.

“Rather than pushing the price up for in-spec cattle, factories are purchasing cattle falling outside of the age and weight requirements,” he said.

But, Punch said that he would rather see factories increase the base price of in-spec cattle, rather than using out of spec animals to fill the void in the market.

It makes you question what has happened to the markets that don’t want over age and heavy carcasses.

The ICSA representative also said that due to the tight number of cattle on the ground it is a good time for farmers to haggle with beef processors over price and specification.

He said that a number of farmers have been able to get 24 month old bulls slaughtered without facing any price cuts.

Punch also said that the same could be said for weight limits, as a number of farmers have found it easier to get cattle with carcasses over 400kg slaughtered.

Factories slow to increase beef price

Factories are slow to increase the beef price this week, despite a reduction in the number of cattle slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved beef plants.

Most factories are maintaining quotes at last week’s levels, with cattle meeting the age and weight specifications continuing to see the best demand.

Steer prices have remained unchanged at 395-400c/kg, but some farmers are being paid up to 405c/kg for in-spec animals.

Like last week, procurement managers are continuing to offer 400-410c/kg for heifers on the grid.

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