Donegal Meats has been first to move again this week, increasing its quotes by 5c/kg.

This brings its base quote to €5/kg for heifers killing out between 300kg and 400kg, while its bullock quote has also moved by 5c/kg to €4.95/kg for in-spec bullocks killing out between 300kg and 400kg.

There is more appetite for cattle in the northern half of the country, with a few of the northern-based plants having to increase quotes this week to secure supplies.

This has meant bullocks have moved to €4.85/kg and heifers are being bought at €4.95/kg where there are numbers are involved.

Further south, the general run of quotes is €4.80/kg to €4.85/kg for bullocks with €4.85/kg to €4.90/kg for heifers.

As is always the case, factories will quote, but I’m unaware of any of them leaving cattle behind them at the moment for the sake of 5c or 10c/kg.

Aberdeen Angus cattle are still working off a 30c/kg bonus for in-spec cattle.

Flat pricing is still very popular, with a lot of dairy-bred cattle being sold this way in the last few weeks.

The best price I have heard this week was €4.95/kg for a load of mixed O and P grading Friesian bullocks.

Cow prices

U grading cows are still hitting €4.65/kg to €4.75/kg, with those with high numbers of good cows able to squeeze a little more out of the market.

R grading cows are trading for as high as €4.55/kg, with good O grading cows coming in at €4.45/kg.

Well-fleshed P+3 cows have been paid out at €4.35/kg this week just to secure other cattle as part of a load.

Cows have risen 15c/kg across the water in the last two weeks on the back of a very big manufacturing beef demand.

Bulls are also in demand, with U grading bulls now up at €5/kg in a couple of factories.

R grading bulls are working off €4.90/kg to €4.95/kg, depending on flesh cover. Under-16-month bulls are working off a base of €4.80/kg to €4.90/kg.

Kill figures

Last week’s kill came in at 33,944, a reduction of 3,600 head on the week before.

Good Friday had an effect on this, but some factories ramped up throughput on four days last week, while others chose to kill cattle on Good Friday, such is the demand that exists for beef at the moment.

Beef quotes took a big lift across the water last week, with R4L heifers coming in at €5.54/kg incl VAT.

Next week sees the start of a week long campaign for Great British Beef Week in the UK, which will likely see beef get a spike in demand on the back of the campaign.

IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden said: “Beef price rises in our key export markets and in particular the EU market are not being reflected in the prices factories are offering farmers.

“While prices continue to creep up 5c/kg a week, the price surge for young bulls on the continent and price increases in the UK are leaving our prices lagging behind the prime export benchmark price by over 20c/kg on the latest report.”

NI comment

North of the border, prices for cull cows have moved on again this week, with quotes for R3 animals rising 10p to 355p/kg (€4.51 inc VAT).

However, deals are generally being made above 370p/kg (€4.70/kg), with reports of 380p/kg (€4.83/kg )being paid on cows with higher conformation to keep pace with the live ring.

Prime cattle are on quotes of 420p/kg (€5.33/kg) for U-3 grading animals.

But, once again, quotes are running well below the price deals on offer, as most reports put steers on 430p/kg (€5.46/kg) and heifers on 436p/kg (€5.54/kg).

Higher prices are reserved for specialist finishers handling bigger numbers of cattle.

Young bulls are moving from 414p to 420p/kg (€5.26 to €5.33/kg).