The beef trade remains in a steady position this week, with factories rowing back on the negative comments and quotes remaining unchanged in most locations on Monday morning ahead of another full week's kill.

Bullocks are working off a €5.15/kg base in almost all locations, while heifers are being quoted at €5.20/kg.

Those with numbers and regular customers are working off quotes 5c to 10c/kg higher than the standard quotes.

Donegal remains out in front with its base price of €5.25/kg for bullocks killing out between 300kg and 400kg carcase weight.

It is also quoting €5.30/kg for heifers killing out in the same weight range.

Tight numbers

Numbers of finished cattle remain tight on the ground, with numbers expected to get very tight in the second and third week of May on the back of reduced numbers of farmers finishing young bulls.

This will likely push quotes up as we move through May, with summer demand kicking in.

Flat prices of €5.20/kg to €5.30/kg continue to be on the table this week for Friesian bullocks, with free transport being thrown into the bargain in some cases to secure the cattle.

Under-24-month bulls are working off €5.30/kg to €5.40/kg for U grading bulls. R grading bulls are being quoted at €5.20/kg to €5.30/kg.

O grading bulls are being quoted at €5.10/kg to €5.20/kg, while P grading bulls are being bought at €5.00/kg in some factories this week and this depends on weight and fat score of these poorer-quality black and white bulls.

Under-16-month bulls are working off a €5.15/kg base price. This is before the 12c/kg in-spec bonus is applied, along with any grading bonuses or penalties.

Cow trade

Cows continue to be the highlight of the trade, with €5.00/kg to €5.10/kg on the table in some outlets for well-fleshed U grading cows.

R grading cows are working off €4.70/kg to €4.80/kg in the main, with O grading suckler cows coming in at €4.60/kg, while O grading dairy cows are being bought at €4.40/kg to €4.50/kg.

P+3 cows are being bought at €4.30/kg in some plants.