The beef trade remains positively perched this week, as quotes remain very steady and improving in some plants.
Procurement managers are still on the hunt for supplies, with some moving out of their traditional catchment areas to secure supplies.
A couple have even tried the oldest trick in the book, get it out there that cattle price is going to drop trying to convince farmers that now is the time to sell.
Heifers are generally being bought at €4.30/kg to €4.35/kg this week.
Foyle Meats is still on €4.40/kg when all bonuses have been included and this has put pressure on some of the factories situated in the northern half of the country to follow suit and move to €4.40/kg just to get cattle.
Further south, heifers are being bought at €4.30/kg, with bullocks coming in at €4.25/kg.
Flat deals are still as popular as ever, with as high as €4.70/kg being paid for Aberdeen Angus cattle this week.
If working off the grid, bonuses of as high as 15c/kg are available for Herefords, while 25c/kg is available for Aberdeen Angus in-spec animals.
The cow trade also remains in a positive position, with a high of €4.00/kg being paid by some factories to secure U grading cows.
R grading cows are trading between €3.80/kg and €3.90/kg, with O grading cows coming in at €3.70/kg to €3.75/kg, depending on flesh and quality.
Under-24-month U grading bulls are moving at €4.30/kg to €4.40/kg, while R grading bulls are at €4.25/kg to €4.30/kg.
Under-16-month bulls are working off €4.20/kg to €4.25/kg base price on the grid.
Cattle need to be fit to kill them and then you kill them when they are fit.
There is some evidence that cattle have started to move a little earlier in the last week, with some under-fleshed cattle being killed in some factories.
The advice is simple - kill them when there’re fit
Farmers need to be careful here that a deal is struck on fat covers if cattle are being killed shy on flesh.
Killing animals straight off grass with no meal feeding, while it may be tempting, can be a costly lesson where fat covers don’t meet the in-spec requirement.
The only exception to this is traditionally bred heifers with good natural cover. These animals may get away without any feeding.
If you are unsure, make sure to get the agent to come out and look and, even better, to handle the cattle.
It’s a similar story when cattle are fit. I have heard of a few people holding on trying to play the market in the last week or so. The advice is simple - kill them when there’re fit.