Another beef price cut at factories this week ended the stable period for the trade over the past three weeks.
There is agreement among processors across the country this week on price, with the quoted base prices reduced as much as 5 cents/kg.
The base for steers has slipped to 390 cents/kg.
While some beef farmers are engaging in hard dealing to secure 395 cents/kg, the processors are taking a hard line on paying anything over the quoted price.
Depending on the particular location, heifer prices which are quoted at 400 cents/kg are either stable or back by the same margin as steer prices.
Generally, the negotiating strength for suppliers of heifers trying to strike deals for extra money is stronger than for steer sellers, but not much over 400 cents/kg is being paid overall.
Heavy rainfall in some areas has worsened ground conditions on farms, increasing the pressure to lighten stocking levels.
More animals are also approaching the 30-months cut-off point for the Quality Assured bonus worth 12 c/kg (some processors appear to be adhering to this cut-off point more rigidly than others) which is adding to the flow of cattle to the factories.
Of coarse, the season is also edging closer to the usual peak period for supply.
Processors are all well aware that all these factors will add to the increase in supply over the coming weeks, leaving them in a much stronger position to dictate terms — as they are doing.
Although the intake last week slipped back about 1,000 head, to just under 30,500, it did not deter the processors from inflicting the further price cut, and the question on every producer’s mind is where does the bottom of the trade for the autumn lie.
O/P-grade cows are ranging 330-340 cents/kg, and up to 360 cents/kg is being offered for Rs this week.
The beef trade in Britain is reporting an increase in the average prices for R4L-grade steers of around 3p/kg, to a price equivalent to 518 cent/kg (including VAT).
There has been some increase in the trade on the back of seasonal demand increases.
In France, little change in the trade has been reported.
Retailers are still reluctant to stock imported product.
However, the foodservice is still buying Irish produce.
In Italy, some improvement have been noted in the trade after hot weather left the trade relatively stagnant during August.
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