While there appears to be a desire among factories for quality-assured bullocks and heifers, that has not yet translated into higher prices, with quotes for bullocks and heifers stuck at €3.60-3.65/kg.
nd why should they as the numbers keep coming? The kill for the week October 18 reached 37,663, up 1,229 on the previous week and up 3,910 on the last week of September.
Of the 37,663, 16,293 were bullocks, with heifers 9,840, cull cows 8,155 and young bulls 1,487.
The big question is, how much longer will the grass cattle keep coming? The bank holiday week doesn’t help the situation, with processors no doubt having bought strongly ahead of the break.
While some continue to predict that supplies “have to tighten”, others point to finisher and feedlot operators that bought strongly during August and September in anticipation of a November price rise, meaning those numbers are now waiting in the wings.
For the present, however, bullock and heifer quotes remain stable. That is not the case among the cull cows, with quotes back 5-10c/kg, leaving your R-grade cow on €3.10-3.15/kg with O-grades floating around the €3/kg mark while P grades slip to €2.80-2.90/kg.
The other mainstay of the manufacturing beef sector, the young bull, remains unchanged, largely down to the fact that his numbers have dwindled to just 4pc of the overall weekly kill.
Bord Bia report that as of the week October 17, factory quotes in the North remained stable with your R3-grade bullock continuing to trade at the equivalent of €4.05/kg, with heifers slightly stronger at €4.06/kg.
In Britain prime beef edged stronger, with R3 steers rising to €4.16/kg while heifers settled at €4.14/kg.
The announcement that the Beef Taskforce stakeholders have agreed in principle to support a draft application for PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) for Irish grass fed beef is to be welcomed.
I do wonder how the Minister is going to square the circle when it comes to the inclusion of young bulls when his department makes its final submission to the commission.
Minister Charlie McConalogue announced a budget of €6 million to assist with Bord Bia’s proposal to develop a specific suckler brand over the next three years, and very interestingly the formation of an oversight committee dominated by farmer representation.
While the above proposals are part of the longer game, ICMSA’s proposal to subsidise calves coming from the dairy herd saw €5m being earmarked recently for payment to the sector next year.
Des Morrison, ICMSA’s national livestock chairman, told me: “This is a welcome first step for good integration between the dairy and beef sectors and a positive option for farmers.”
While it good to see the government is prepared to inject money at both research and farm level in an attempt to improve the saleability of Irish beef, the gap between prices in the UK and here remains the biggest issue.