Beef processors appear intent on gaining more control of the trade for finished cattle and have moved to reduce base quotes this week.
Several plants have applied a 4p/kg cut, bringing the range of base quotes for U-3 grade steers and heifers to 366p to 374p/kg.
However, the price cuts are not being applied evenly, and regular finishers, and those with bigger numbers to sell, are still achieving price deals of 380p/kg to 390p/kg, similar to previous weeks.
Those who offload animals less frequently, and with limited numbers on offer, face greater difficulty in negotiating higher prices. Similarly, cattle that do not meet carcase specifications for the retail market have become a harder sell.
Reports also suggest that strong supplies of Angus cattle are currently coming forward. With breed bonuses on top of base quotes, a cut to the starting price ultimately makes these cattle a little easier to buy.
For those with herds not under movement restrictions, local marts are still a viable alternative for well-conformed types.
Reports from mart managers indicate that the drop in factory base quotes has had little impact on U and R grading cattle, which are holding steady around 210p to 220p/kg.