Factories have moved to apply more pressure to the beef trade this week. Quotes for bullocks are back 5c/kg to €5.05/kg, while heifer quotes are back to €5.10/kg.

There are even some agents trying to buy bullocks at €5/kg, but not making any progress at that price. Numbers of prime cattle remain tight, with a tightness in slaughter-fit cattle across the water in the UK pushing quotes upwards in the last week.

The cow kill continues to increase, with almost 10,000 cows killed last week, the majority of which were P-grading dairy cows. A shortage in grass supplies, a poorer milk price and nitrates issues have pushed dairy farmers to offload cull cows earlier this year.

A strong manufacturing trade has helped cow prices hold solid, with P+3 cows still being quoted at €4.20/kg this week.

The one positive in the cattle trade at the moment is live exports. Exporters are reporting insatiable demand for Irish cattle from both the Middle East and North Africa, with a number of customers visiting Irish exporters’ yards this week in search of weanlings.

The Shorthorn Express departed Greenore port at the weekend with 2,500 cattle on board destined for the Middle East and the Irish Farmers Journal understands it will be returning immediately for a load of weanlings to be shipped to Morocco before the end of the month.