Autumn kill ends abruptly

21 November 2005

Kills in Ireland improved from the end of August and in September came in at just under 40,000 head of cattle per week. This meant that there were plenty of hides available and a lot of hide processors sold ahead expecting hide prices to slip gently lower and this appeared to be happening across all the weight ranges. Abattoirs in Ireland also felt that there were plenty of cattle available and, as a consequence, in September they steadily and methodically reduced the price paid to farmers for the live cattle. All seemed to be going well until the second week in October when they reduced the price again and this reduction in price proved to be too much for the farming community to take. Farmers were incurring huge losses when they sold their stock and they decided, not in an organised way but by individual actions, not to bring their animals in for slaughter. This coincided with an un-seasonally mild and dry spell of weather which allowed the farmers to keep their cattle out in the fields feeding on grass at no cost to the farmer. Normally at this time of year the autumn rains have arrived and the animals are moved into sheds where they are fed with expensive feed. However, due to the mild weather farmers had an alternative and they used it. Most plants in Ireland were forced to stop killing for at least one day during the week commencing October 17 and operated at 50% capacity for the other days. The situation was resolved at the end of October by the abattoirs sharply increasing the price paid for cattle and it was expected but by no means guaranteed that normal large kills would not return. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in November. This collapse in kill was preceded by a strong interest in 36kg+ which rose by 5p per kg and the interest remained strong. This was not as a result of the low kill or foot and mouth in South America. It appears to be purely driven by orders received by Italian tanners. Other weight ranges remained unaffected. Prices at the end of October were as follows: 36kg+…...........................…….78p 31/35.5 ..................................... 84p 26/30.5 ..................................... 90p 22/25.5 ..................................... 95p It is expected that salted cows will be available for export from the UK early in the New Year but final clarification on hides from the OTMS kill is still awaited. We should know the position for the next publication. Lambskins remained in the doldrums. Türkiye had no interest and people stopped producing doubleface. There were reports of sales of fellmongers at £1.60 ex yard.

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