The beef trade remains on a steady footing, with no change to this week’s quotes compared with last week’s prices paid by factories.

Bullocks are continuing to move at €4.15/kg to €4.20/kg, while heifers are working off €4.20/kg to €4.25/kg quotes.

Donegal is still top of the pile in terms of quotes when its 10c/kg bonus is added in for carcasses killing out between 300kg and 400kg.

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cattle are still top of the list for processors, with bonuses of between 10c and 25c/kg being paid for the right in-spec animals.

Factory agents had been doing their best to talk down the trade over the last two weeks, but this seems to have abated for now, with a lot of agents still anxious for stock.

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 10/kg more.

O grading cows are also still strong, with €3.65/kg to €3.75/kg being paid for fleshed cows. P grading cows are generally being bought at €3.55/kg to €3.65/kg.

British retailers

Across the water, the British industry is still trying to grapple with huge issues around labour shortages in factories, a shortage of lorry drivers and issues around the supply of CO2 gas, which is used in packaging to prolong the shelf life of meat products.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that a number of new contracts are close to agreement between some British supermarkets and Irish processors.

Retailers across the water are said to be nervous about the upcoming Christmas supply chain and are keen to avoid any situation where shop shelves are left empty, especially during periods where pre-Christmas offers on meat drive supermarket footfall.

Research has shown that beef is a major driver of supermarket footfall, so retailers treat meat contracts with high priority. This is good news for Irish beef finishers.

With processors locked into supermarket contracts, they will be eager to guarantee their own supply of finished cattle in the run-up to Christmas.

This will have a positive effect on price and should increase the chances of larger suppliers being issued with finishing contracts in the coming weeks.