A late call with a good result and I'm not talking about Joe Canning's last-gasp equalising free on Sunday.
No, just before going to press with this column yesterday I got a call to say that a base of up to 395c/kg for steers and 405c/kg for heifers had been nailed.
Definitely the trade has improved over the past week and confidence has recovered among farmers with beef cattle to sell. Factories are anxious for stock and willing to pay above the quotes if pushed.
Generally, quotes for the steers range from 385-390c/kg. More and more farmers are bargaining for the 390c/kg, with a few holding out for the 395c/kg mentioned above.
The base for the heifers is between 395c/kg and 400c/kg, with most of the females being bought at the €4/kg. Genuine base prices of 405-410c/kg have also been got, while some farmers have also sold as low as 390c/kg. That 20c/kg of a difference between top and bottom results in a price gap of up to €70 on a 350kg carcase.
Steers have travelled to Northern Ireland at 405c/kg flat plus transport for R and U grades and factories actively buying in the marts are paying the equivalent of 400-410c/kg.
The U grade bulls are making from 390c/kg to 400c/kg, with the Rs at 385-390c/kg. Quotes and prices for the O grades run from 370-380c/kg.
IFA livestock chairman, Henry Burns said that due to a scarcity of finished cattle factories were unable to buy at the quoted figures and were having to pay a minimum of 5c/kg more to secure deals. He added that flat prices of 410c/kg up to a tops of 420c/kg had been paid for heifers.
The cull cows seem to have steadied as well with a tops of 370c/kg reported for U grades in the midlands. Generally the Us are making from this back to 350c/kg, with the Rs ranging from 330c/kg to 350c/kg. Prices for the O grade cows vary from 310c/kg to 330c/kg, while P+ cows are selling for 300-315c/kg.
Bord Bia described the beef trade in Britain as being similar to previous weeks, with tight supplies continuing to match current demand levels.
Reported cattle prices from the AHDB remain relatively stable, with GB R4L grade steers averaging Stg352.3p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 467c/kg including VAT deadweight) for the week ended September 1.
On the Continent, trade across most of the key markets remained firm, with prices reflecting this pattern. Demand continues to shift from hindquarter to forequarter cuts in the lead up to autumn.
In an effort to boost demand levels further, promotions have become increasingly evident across a number of the key export markets. In France, Irish steer hinds are making up to €5.79kg.
R3 young bulls in Germany increased by 3/c to €4.21/kg, with O3 cow prices increasing by 1/c to €3.62/kg. In Italy, R3 young bulls fell by 4/c to €4.24/kg, while O3 cows increased by 4/c to €3.30kg.
- Joe Healy
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