Many finishers’ cattle are now being put on a two-week waiting list

Many finishers’ cattle are now being put on a two-week waiting list
Brexit, Mercosur, and the €100m Beef Scheme were the main topics last weekend at Cork IFA’s meeting with Agriculture Minister Michael Creed at his office in Macroom. From left, Seán Clarke, Seán Dennehy, Minister Creed, Anne Baker, John Coughlan, Harold Kingston and Corney Buckley.

The meltdown in beef prices at the factories continued this week with further cuts across most of the categories, knocking another slice off the returns to finishers.

Most processors have reduced the base price for steers by a further 5 cents/kg to 350 cents/kg, and the prices for heifers have been cut as much as 10 cents/kg, bringing the base to 355 cents/kg at some plants.

While some cattle processed this week were bought at last week’s prices, finishers say it has become very difficult this week to negotiate for better than the quoted base prices for steers, heifers, or young bulls.

Three weeks ago, some finishers were advised by factory buyers that the steer price would be 350 cents/kg before the end of July.

Finishers kept that in the back of their minds, and feared the worst, which may have influenced the continued strong supply of cattle to factories, in hope of beating the price cuts.

“The factories have skinned us on prices, and they are digging their heels in with a take it or leave it attitude, by putting suppliers on a waiting list with no commitment to prices forward” one angry finisher complained.

Farmers who were hoping that there was something left in cattle, at the prices they were bought earlier in the year, are now losing money, even though the stock did well. It is heading for disaster.

The base price for young bulls has also been affected, cut to 10 cents/kg below the steers, at 340 cents/kg for R-grade, before any penalties for heavier carcases are applied. January 2017 born steers are now running into the overage category, which is incurring a 10 cents/kg penalty, typically costing a further €35/head reduction in the return on a 350kg carcase.

While kill numbers continue very strong, with the intake for last week running at over 34,800 head, a level at which finishers have been left with very little power to bargain on price, the supply for the week was around 1,500 head less than the same week last year.

Many finishers’ cattle are now being put on a two-week waiting list, and will have to take the price on the day of supply, which is a very unsatisfactory situation in which to operate.

The only sector holding its own price-wise is cull cows, for which there is good demand at factories, at steady prices. At the upper end, the better quality R-grade cows are making up to 310 cents/kg, with the better O-graders at 290 cents/kg, and the more Friesian types at 280 cents/kg, while the P-grade, in general, are on around 270 cents/kg.

More on this topic

All aboard for a fun-filled family trip to France on the ferryAll aboard for a fun-filled family trip to France on the ferry

Pulling with my Parents, Dublin Murders and Cat Hospital: RTÉ announces it’s new seasonPulling with my Parents, Dublin Murders and Cat Hospital: RTÉ announces it’s new season

5 of the best cities for al fresco dining5 of the best cities for al fresco dining

What might happen to your body on a 19 hour flight to Sydney?What might happen to your body on a 19 hour flight to Sydney?

More in this Section

It's Pure True: Liam’s on the road, Sam camped in DublinIt's Pure True: Liam’s on the road, Sam camped in Dublin

People’s power movement takes on the beef industryPeople’s power movement takes on the beef industry

€1.65m at auction for 95 acre farm at Fermoy€1.65m at auction for 95 acre farm at Fermoy

Many finishers hit by penalty of up to 22 cents/kg for cattle over 30 monthsMany finishers hit by penalty of up to 22 cents/kg for cattle over 30 months


Lifestyle

Eating outdoors never looked so stylish.5 of the best cities for al fresco dining

Ultra-long haul flights from London to the east coast of Australia could be coming soon.What might happen to your body on a 19 hour flight to Sydney?

They’ve collaborated with influencer Lucy Williams and the collection is inspired by her birth year.Everything we know about the new collection by jewellery brand Missoma

Lauren Taylor catches up with last year’s Great British Menu winner who’s on a mission to make us love goat meat.Chef James Cochran: ‘People need to broaden their minds about eating goat’

More From The Irish Examiner