Donegal Meats has been the first to break ranks and increase base quotes on Monday.
It has increased its base quote for heifers to €4.40/kg for those killing out between 300kg and 400kg.
Donegal Meats has also moved quotes up for bullocks, with €4.35/kg being quoted for those killing out between 300kg and 400kg.
Some factories are quoting €4.25/kg for heifers and €4.20/kg for bullocks. More are quoting €4.15/kg for bullocks and €4.20/kg for heifers, but are then generally paying out 5c/kg more when the haggling starts. The advice is to haggle hard this week as demand exceeds supply on the cattle front.
There has been a marked change in agent activity in most factories over the last few days with a big increase in activity and phone calls looking for finished cattle.
Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cattle are in particular demand, with bonuses of 25c/kg going for in-spec Aberdeen Angus cattle.
There is also a little more appetite for young bulls, with a €4.15/kg to €4.20/kg base price being quoted for under-16-month bulls in most factories.
Under-24-month bulls are generally working off €4.15/kg for R grades and €4.25/kg to €4.35/kg for U grades.
The cow trade has also stayed pretty steady over the last week, despite some factories focusing on their prime cattle kill.
P+3 cows are working off €3.45/kg to €3.50/kg, with heavier P grading cows coming into 340kg to 350kg carcase weight managing €3.55/kg.
O grading Friesian cows are coming in at €3.50/kg, while O grading suckler cows are able to squeeze €3.60/kg out of the market.
R grading cows continue to trade off €3.80/kg to €3.85/kg, while good-quality U grading cows are still capable of getting €4.00/kg and more.
Like all parts of society, COVID compliance has slipped a little in the world of agriculture. Farmers are reminded to make sure to practice social distancing, hand sanitise and to wear masks in all public places especially in places such as marts.