Finishers are holding on tight to finished cattle this week in a bid to squeeze everything they can out of the peak in Christmas demand.

Most factories will be at peak killing for the next two weeks in terms of filling Christmas orders.

Prime cattle supplies continue to be in short supply, with a huge fall-off in the bullock kill in the last four weeks.

This shortage in supply has led to a lot of factories having to increase quotes to get cattle again this week.

A lot of bullocks are being bought at €4.75/kg this week, while most factories have moved heifer prices to €4.80/kg.

It’s important to note that a lot of factories are still trying to buy bullocks at €4.70/kg and heifers at €4.75/kg, but when push comes to shove, most are able to move up the quotes by 5c/kg.

Lots of interest

Farmers with cattle to sell are reporting a lot of interest from different factory agents for prime cattle, with a lot of agents being issued instructions to leave no cattle behind them for the next two weeks.

Farmers with bigger loads of cattle are in an even stronger position for bargaining for better quotes as factories look for numbers.

Bull trade

The bull trade remains pretty stable, with €4.80/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 €4.70/kg to €4.80/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 €4.60/kg to €4.65/kg.

Cow prices

Good, well-fleshed cows remain a solid trade. Light P1 parlour cows remain under pressure, with many factories shying away from the poorer cows, with some quoting under €2/kg for parlour cows.

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, 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.