The four-day week is taking the pressure off procurement managers.
It has helped them avoid another price increase but supply and demand is tentatively poised for another hike towards the end of this week or for next week’s kill.
Positive movement in the UK beef trade and across Europe will filter into the Irish trade and with finished cattle in short supply, factories will have no option but to increase quotes to secure supplies.
The general run of quotes is €4.80/kg to €4.90/kg base price for heifers, while bullocks are working off €4.80/kg to €4.85/kg.
Prices of €4.85-€4.90/kg have been paid for mixes of good bullocks and heifers this week and those with numbers are in the driving seat, with factories very eager to do business.
Donegal Meats is still top of the list with its quote of €4.95/kg for heifers but a number of factories in the northern half of the country are now matching its quotes to get cattle.
Flat prices for R=R- Aberdeen Angus heifers are still hitting as high as €5.35/kg this week.
U grade cows are still hitting €4.60/kg to €4.70/kg, with those with high numbers of good cows able to squeeze a little more out of the market.
R grade cows are trading for as high as €4.50/kg, with good O grades coming in at €4.40/kg.
Well-fleshed P+3 cows have been paid out at €4.30/kg this week just to secure other cattle as part of a load.
Cows have risen 15c/kg across the water in the last two weeks on the back of a very big manufacturing beef demand.
The mart is still the best choice for good-quality cows if you are selling small numbers. Most factories have active agents competing for stock in marts around the country and some very big prices (close to €3/kg) are being paid in some cases for the right type of stock.
Bulls are also in demand, with U grades now up at €5/kg in a couple of factories. R grade bulls are working off €4.90/kg to €4.95/kg depending on flesh cover.