While ground conditions are getting a little sticky in some parts of the country, the beef trade is far from sticky, with further price increases coming through for cattle bought early this week.

Bullocks are working off a base of €4.65/kg to €4.70/kg, with more going to sellers able to bargain hard. Heifers are working off €4.70/kg to €4.80/kg base price this week, with the higher quotes going to those with numbers.

As always, farmers with numbers and regular customers are in the driving seat. With supplies tight and factory agents anxious for stock, the ball is at the farmer's foot when selling cattle this week.

Foyle Meats, Donegal, has moved to a base price of €4.85/kg for bullocks this week, as long as they kill out between 300kg and 400kg.

Heifers are working off 5c/kg more, with €4.90/kg on offer on the grid for heifers killing out between 300kg and 400kg deadweight.

Bull trade

The bull trade maintains its positive trend, with up to €4.95/kg being paid to a few specialised bull finishers for U grading under-24-month bulls.

R grading bulls are being quoted at €4.80/kg to €4.85/kg, with a little more going to regular suppliers and those with numbers.

O and P grading bulls are trading at 5c to 10c/kg less than this, with fat cover being a big determinant on price for some of the poorer-quality bulls.

Cow prices

The manufacturing trade also remains strong, with good demand for fleshed cows from all factories this week.

Well-fleshed P+3 cows continue to trade at €3.70/kg to €3.80/kg, depending on weight and quality.

O grading cows are working off €4.10/kg to €4.20/kg, while good R grading cows are coming in at €4.30/kg to €4.40/kg.

U grading cows are being quoted as high as €4.50/kg to €4.60/kg in some factories.

Good-quality continental cows continue to make big money in marts, with factories snapping up a lot of finished cows.

Heavy cows are hitting as high as €2.60/kg this week in marts, which is more than cows are worth in the factory.