Dare I mention horses and cattle in the same sentence? While there was no shortage of quality Irish stock on show in Cheltenham last week, this week is all about quality assured (QA) beef heifers and steers.
At a Meat Industry Ireland (MII) meeting last week it was agreed to double the QA payment up to 12c/kg. Word has it that certain processing personnel wanted to move it up to 20c/kg but a compromise was agreed at the 12c/kg.
Obviously it is an effort to get more cattle into the QA system and probably also spark a return to steer beef from bull beef.
One beef finisher I spoke to said while any increase is always welcome, he felt an increase in the qualifying age limit from 30 to 36 months would be far more beneficial. He saw no reason why this couldn't be introduced too.
On the other hand, the processors may argue that you are moving into huge weights that are tougher to sell in the market place. In any case, if you are selling this week make sure you get the 12c/kg if your stock are QA.
Quotes and prices have also moved in a positive direction with a 5c/kg rise commonplace. While the steer quotes are generally between 425-430c/kg, the base prices being negotiated are more often up around 435c/kg with the 12c/kg QA on top of this.
Similarly, the heifer quotes range from 445c/kg to 450c/kg but prices have varied between 450-460c/kg. Finishers with non-QA stock are finding it more difficult to bargain for acceptable prices, with some farmers reporting that quotes for these animals are well behind the QA animals.
In a nutshell, it is all about quality assurance in the present climate. IFA's Henry Burns said that the QA increase was positive and reflective of the market and added that with a stronger reward farmers will respond. He also advised farmers that there were no weight restrictions to the QPS.
U-grade bulls are generally making from 425-438c/kg, with the best prices in the northwest for in-spec bulls. Quotes and prices for the Rs range between 415c/kg and 426c/kg. O grades are generally making 400-405c/kg, with the Ps at around 390c/kg.
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