Prime cattle remain in firm demand, with most quotes remaining unchanged for this week.
Heifers are generally working off €4.15/kg to €4.20/kg. The higher quotes of €4.20/kg are still being paid to the bigger suppliers.
Some western-based factories have tried to pull quotes, but have been unsuccessful in doing so.
Bullocks also remain in firm demand, with quotes around the €4.10/kg mark.
Higher quotes of €4.15/kg have also been paid in the last week for larger loads of cattle to more regular suppliers.
Haulage continues to be added in as a sweetener to get deals over the line, especially where Aberdeen Angus or Hereford cattle are involved.
Last week’s kill was up, but finished cattle are still in short supply, with factory agents hungry for suitable supplies of finished cattle.
Farmers are advised to bargain hard when killing cattle.
Under-16-month young bulls are moving at €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg base price.
Under-24-month R grading bulls are working off €4/kg to €4.10/kg, while U grades are generally moving around the €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg mark.
Factory appetite for cows seems to be a little easier this week. However, prices remain relatively unchanged from last week.
O grading dairy cows are being quoted at €3.50/kg, while P grading dairy cows are being quoted around the €3.40/kg mark.
Good-quality suckler cows remain in firm demand, with a number of smaller independent operators driving the demand for well-fleshed slaughter cows.
Good R grading suckler cows are generally working off €3.70/kg to €3.80/kg, with 5c/kg more going for U grading cows.
Southern and northern factory agents are still very active in marts buying out any slaughter-fit cattle.
Some factories have moved to cut beef prices in Northern Ireland, with some factories reducing the number of days killing last week.
Scottish beef prices have also eased back in the last week, with quotes back 5p/kg (6c/kg).
The British beef price has eased a little for the first time in the last 10 weeks. British beef prices had risen 29p/kg (33c/kg) since the beginning of February.
Reports from the UK suggest that wetter weather in the last two weeks has meant outdoor dining has been curtailed.
The food service channels should see a lift in demand this week, with the UK hospitality sector reopening for indoor dining from Monday onwards.
There is some increased demand for imported product in the UK. There are two factors driving this.
One is that the UK beef price is currently at record levels, so some traders are starting to look elsewhere for supplies, especially as the food service industry opens up again.
The second is that a high percentage of food service beef would have traditionally come from imported beef, so this will also help demand for Irish product.
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is reporting that the British beef price is currently 82p/kg (95c/kg) ahead of this time last year.
The current price differential between Britain and Ireland stands at 98c/kg or almost €300 on a 300kg carcase.