Poorer grades hit by lower prices

Marts: Prices for O grade bullocks fared worst at the factories, dropping up to 2p/lb, as the slide in prices continued last week with lower returns to producers for all grades.

The poorer quality, O3 grade bullocks, dropped to an average of less than 94p/lb, according to the farmer paysheet returns for the week, while the average price paid by the processors for O3 grade heifers fell to 93p/lb.

A widening of the margin between prices paid for R and O grade cattle has added to the sharper fall in prices for poorer quality carcasses.

Producers took 1p/lb less for R grade cattle last week as the downward slide continued at double the rate at which it increased earlier.

The gain over more than three months has now been wiped off beef prices, with the average paid for R3 bullocks and heifers last week equivalent to that of the week beginning April 19 last.

Carrigans of Donegal were the only factory paying an average of more than 100p/lb for R3 bullocks last week. At 102p/lb they were clear leaders over Duffys of Gort at 99.6p/lb and AIBP at Clones paying an average of 99p/lb. Kildare Chilling, Dawn Meats at Waterford, Excel Meats at Kilbeggan and Bergins Moyvalley Meats, Co Kildare, average 98p/lb or fractionally higher, against an overall average of 97.5p/lb for all factories, 1p/lb lower than the previous week. The average paid for O3 bullocks at a shade under 94p/lb was 2p/lb down.

Two factories continued to pay average over 100p/lb for R3 heifers, Kepak at Clonee paying an average of 102.8p/lb and Carrigans averaging 100.8p/lb. A further seven factories paid 98p/lb or better. The overall average was a shade under 98p/lb. The national average for 03 heifers was 93p/lb.

Cow prices have dropped by up to 9p/lb. Liffey Meats paid the highest average at 81.7p/lb for R4H.

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