Factories continue to hunt for finished cattle supplies, with no signs of any let-up in the shortage that factories ae currently experiencing in prime cattle supplies.

This week will see factories at full throttle in one of the busiest weeks of beef processing in the run-up to the Christmas market.

Supplies of prime cattle are tight south of the border and in even tighter supply north of the border and further afield in the UK.

A number of procurement managers have taken to the roads over the weekend to source supplies for this week’s kill. This has meant some factories have had to improve quotes again this week.

The general run of Monday morning quotes were €4.75/kg to €4.85/kg for bullocks. It's worth noting that there are very few bullocks being bought at €4.75/kg. Factories are quoting €4.75/kg, but paying €4.80/kg in a lot of cases.

Heifers are along the same lines, with lots of factories quoting €4.80/kg but paying €4.85/kg and even up to €4.90/kg where bigger loads of heifers are involved.

Bull trade

The bull trade also remains solid, with €4.90/kg being paid for U grading under-24-month bulls this week. A little more is also on the table for those with numbers.

R grading bulls are being quoted at €4.80/kg to €4.85/kg, with a little more going to regular suppliers and those with numbers.

O and P grading bulls are trading at 5c/kg to 10c/kg less than this. Under-16-month bulls are generally working off base prices of €4.70/kg to €4.75/kg.

Cow prices

Good, well-fleshed cows remain a solid trade. Light P1 parlour cows remain under pressure, with less than €2/kg being quoted for some of these and issues getting them killed in some cases.

Well-fleshed P+3 cows continue to trade at €3.80/kg to €3.90/kg, depending on weight and quality.

O grading cows are working off €3.90/kg to €4.15/kg depending on the processor, while good R grading cows are coming in at €4.20/kg to €4.40/kg.

U grading cows are being quoted at €4.40/kg to €4.50/kg.