Factory protests that caused widespread disruption last week have carried forward into a second week. Last week’s throughput is estimated to have reduced to the tune of 20% to 25%. Should protests continue this week, this figure is likely to be significantly higher with a day’s less processing starting the week off on the back foot.

For plants that are processing as normal, there is no change in prices paid. Steers are moving in general on a base of €3.50/kg with heifers trading on a base of €3.55/kg to €3.60/kg. Reports indicate supplies of steers are being boosted by the good grazing season with numbers coming on stream with greater intensity.

Bulls under 16 months continue to be quoted at a base ranging anywhere from €3.40/kg to €3.50/kg with the upper carcase weight limit set at 400kg. There are allowances in some plants to 420kg to 430kg but this also depends on the number of bulls deemed overweight in a batch and the producer-processor relationship. Bulls falling outside of this spec are being paid off the grid and are also losing out in most cases on their 12c/kg QPS bonus.

Bulls exceeding 16 months of age and trading off the grid are moving on a base of €3.45/kg to €3.50/kg for R grades with U grades selling from €3.50/kg to €3.60/kg. O grading bulls are meeting a wider differential ranging from €3.20/kg to €3.35/kg with overage bulls selling back to €3/kg or even lower.

Cow supplies are steady with the trade in marts remaining solid. P+3 grades range from €2.70/kg to €2.85/kg with O grades from €2.90/kg to €3.05/kg. R grading cows meanwhile range from €€3.10/kg to €3.25/kg with very few U grading in the market trading from €3.25/kg to €3.40/kg at the top of the market for quality U grading lots.

Northern Ireland

The trade in Northern Ireland is solid. The base U-3 steer and heifer quote remains at a range of £3.22/kg to £3.28/kg or the equivalent of €3.50/kg to €3.57/kg at 92p to the euro and €3.69/kg to €3.76/kg including VAT at 5.4%. Producers trading at the top of the market have pushed returns to the mid £3.30s or slightly higher.

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