MATTIE Mc Grath got quite mixed up in the Dáil last week when naming the magazine that our Taoiseach graced the front of recently.
The quotes from the cattle factories are more straight forward however, with little or no change from the past two to three weeks.
This continues to be extremely disappointing from a finisher's point of view, given that last week's estimated kill of just over 32,000hd was 4,100hd below the same week last year.
The fact that prices across the pond are more than 80c/kg ahead of Irish returns is a further concern. On a 350kg carcase, this difference equates to almost €300/hd, which, in one finisher's opinion, is an "absolute disgrace".
Regardless of his feelings, he continues to be quoted a base of between 380-385c/kg for his steers and 390-395c/kg for his heifers. If he is a good seller and willing to travel he may get up to 400c/kg for his females. If he sells in the northwest, the R-grade steers and heifers in-spec will make 402c/kg and 408c/kg respectively.
The bulls are also unchanged with the quotes for the Us generally at 390c/kg, while up to 402c/kg is on offer again up in the northwest.
Quotes for the Rs range from 380c/kg to 390c/kg, with the O grades at 365-370c/kg. P quotes are at 350-360c/kg. Some farmers are getting a flat 390c/kg for a mix of R and Us. Others have successfully bargained for up to €4/kg for the best of their bulls.
The tops of the cull cows are making from 350-358c/kg, with the R grades at 330-352c/kg, O-grade cows are securing between 320-346c/kg, while P+ cows are commanding prices of 300-334c/kg.
IFA National livestock committee chairman Henry Burns said grass cattle are drying up quickly and beef demand is increasing.
He claimed the Irish beef price was crying out for competition and again called on Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to take action to get the live export trade to the Middle East and North Africa moving.
A Spanish colleague told him last week that they are currently exporting thousands of Friesian cattle in the 400kg to 500kg weight range at prices of €2.10/kg to €2.20/kg to Libya.
The latest reports from Bord Bia showed cattle supplies to-date this year running around 14pc (169,100hd) behind last year's levels.
In Britain, trade was similar to previous weeks, with tight supplies matching demand. Reported cattle prices from the AHDB were steady, with GB R4L-grade steers averaging Stg 356.8 pence/kg dw (equivalent to 464c/kg incl VAT dw) for the week ending October 6.
On the continent, trade across most of the key markets was mixed, with prices reflecting this. Demand continues to shift from hindquarter to forequarter cuts in response to cooler weather conditions.
In some markets, demand continues to improve for fifth quarter cuts such as tongues, thick skirts and cheek meat. In France, Irish steer hinds are still making up to €5.78kg. R3 young bulls remain unchanged at €4.27/kg, with O3 cow prices also steady at €3.39/kg. In Italy, R3 young bulls fell by 7/c to €4.30/kg, while O3 cow prices eased by 3/c to €3.21kg.
Meanwhile, the latest June results for England saw cattle numbers decline again. Numbers fell by 1pc to 5.4m head on corresponding 2011 levels. This fall can be attributed to fewer female cattle being retained.
- Joe Healy
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