Factories are using the unsettled period of weather to try to pull prices this week.

Some have dropped quotes by 5c/kg, but are meeting some resistance in doing so.

Last week’s kill saw an increase in numbers and this week’s weather will likely see more cattle move in the factory direction.

While quotes are back a little, most factories are paying the same as last week when pushed. Bullocks are being quoted at €4.60/kg in some locations, but being paid out at €4.65/kg when some pressure is applied.

It’s a similar story for heifers, with some factories trying to pull back quotes by 5c/kg to €4.65/kg. When push comes to shove, €4.70/kg is being paid in a lot of cases.

Foyle top of the pile

Those with numbers regular customers are also working at the higher end of quotes.

Foyle Meats, Donegal, is still working off €4.85/kg for heifers killing out between 300kg and 400kg, while bullocks are back to €4.80/kg for 300kg to 400kg carcases.

Bull trade

Bulls have held steady, with up to €4.90/kg being paid for U grading under-24-month bulls this week.

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 to 10c/kg less than this, with fat cover being a big determinant on price for some of the poorer-quality bulls.

Cow prices

The manufacturing trade also remains strong, with good demand for fleshed cows from all factories this week and, in turn, prices and quotes remaining relatively stable.

Well-fleshed P+3 cows continue to trade at €3.70/kg to €3.80/kg, depending on weight and quality.

O grading cows are working off €4.10/kg to €4.20/kg, while good R grading cows are coming in at €4.30/kg to €4.40/kg.

U grading cows are being quoted as high as €4.50/kg to €4.60/kg in some factories.

Ireland remains bottom of the European and UK beef league, with both markets showing improvements in recent weeks.

While the Irish price has also seen improvement, the current factory sentiment seems to be to erode any price gains on the back of increased numbers last week and this week.

IFA reaction

Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) livestock chair Brendan Golden said: “EU young bull prices have strengthened and when combined with the UK price in the Bord Bia prime export benchmark price, a gap of 37c/kg has opened up with our prices.

"Factories can and must do more on beef price to reflect the reality of the market conditions they are selling into.

"Farmers should not be misled by negativity from factory agents - beef markets are strong, supplies are tight and there is capacity for further price increases from the market.”