Factories have tried their best to inject some negativity into the trade, but haven’t managed to pull prices.

Prices have held pretty steady, with bullocks working off €4.15/kg to €4.20/kg and heifers working off €4.20/kg to €4.25/kg.

It looks like farmers will be fit to weather the current play from factories and hold out if quotes are reduced.

Weather conditions and ground conditions are still good across much of the country and this will play into farmers’ hands, as grass cattle will be under no pressure to come off the land. If weather conditions change, some of the power will shift back to factories.

The latest move from factories comes as the big three look set to fill their feedlots ahead of the winter in the coming weeks.

This always coincides with a concerted effort to pull quotes to bring store cattle prices back in line.

Bull trade

Bulls are working off €4.10/kg to €4.20/kg for R grading bulls, with 5c to 10c/kg extra going for U grading bulls.

Younger under-16-month bulls are working off €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg on the grid.

Cow trade

The cow trade remains steady, with R grading cows still hitting €3.85/kg to €3.90/kg, with U grading cows making 5c to 10c/kg more.

O grading cows are also still strong, with €3.70/kg to €3.80/kg being paid for fleshed cows.

P grading cows are generally being bought at €3.60/kg to €3.65/kg.

Kill figures

Last week’s kill came in at just under 36,000 similar to the before, with the heifer kill crossing 10,000 head for the first time since January 2021.

The 2021 national kill is currently running 66,942 head behind the 2020 kill.

This gap is expected to widen more between now and the end of the year.

World prices

Around the world, beef markets have continued to improve in recent weeks, with the exception of Brazil, which is still dealing with being locked out of the Chinese market. Brazilian beef prices have fallen back to just over €3/kg.

Prices in neighbouring countries Uruguay and Paraguay have hardened in recent weeks, reflecting the issues in Brazil.

Australian cattle prices have continued to improve, with Australian beef farmers set to gain the most as a result of the Brazilian beef import ban in China.

This is also aided by a strong domestic demand, which has helped fuel prices.

Australian beef is up there with some of the best prices in the world at the moment.

The USA has also seen prices improve in recent weeks.

This has been fuelled by strong domestic demand and a strong export trade to Japan and wider Asia.

Cattle supplies in the United States are expected to remain tight for the remainder of the year.

Some regions in the States have been affected with severe drought and this has led to some producers selling off cattle as a result.

Closer to home, the British beef market continues to perform very well, despite the recent well-publicised challenges around getting workers for the industry and the supply of CO2 gas, which is used to maximise the shelf life of meat in retail packaging.

NI comment

Prices in Northern Ireland are again holding firm, with no change on base quotes or deals offered.

Quotes on U3 steers and heifers stay on 394p/kg (€4.82/kg inc VAT).

The majority of prime cattle are moving from a base of 400p/kg (€4.90/kg), with little more than 2p to 4p/kg more on offer.

Cull cows remain on a quote of 312p/kg (€3.82/kg) for R3 grading animals, with deals for good-quality suckler types on 330p/kg (€4.04/kg).