Beef quotes have continued to move in the right direction this week, with a 5c/kg increase for heifers on the cards across all factories on Monday.

This brings the base price for heifers to €4.30/kg across the board. Bigger feeders and those killing higher numbers have been able to squeeze €4.35/kg in some locations.

Donegal Meats remains on top of the pile with base price quotes at €4.45/kg for heifers and €4.40/kg for bullocks. This quote includes the 10c/kg bonus being paid on carcasses killing out between 300kg and 400kg deadweight.

Elsewhere, bullock quotes are working off €4.30/kg, with €4.25/kg going to those with numbers and regular suppliers.

Trying to keep a lid on prices

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford stock remain in big demand, with bonuses of as high as 25c/kg being paid for in-spec Aberdeen Angus cattle.

Factories are doing everything in their power to keep the lid on prices and have managed things very well in the run-up to Christmas.

Many of them moved to marts to pay big money for finished cattle

With numbers tightening, many of them moved to marts to pay big money for finished cattle, as opposed to increasing prices to farmer finishers.

They are also trying every trick in the book with regards to transport, no weight limits, leeway in residency periods and flat pricing to try to lure cattle into factory lairages.

Bull quotes

Bull quotes have remained pretty similar to last week, with €4.20/kg to €4.25/kg being paid for under-24-month bulls with an extra 5c/kg to 10c/kg being paid for U grading bulls. O grading bulls are working off €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg.

Some factories are reporting an increase in under-fleshed black and white bulls coming for slaughter. If you are unsure of fat cover, get an agent to run their eye over them before slaughter to avoid being penalised for under-fatness.

Cows are in good demand, with an increase of 5c/kg evident in cow quotes across a number of locations on Monday morning.

Good R grading suckler cows are now up at €3.90/kg, with 10c/kg more being paid for U grading cows. P+3 cows are working off €3.45/kg to €3.50/kg, with heavier P grading cows coming into 340kg to 350kg carcase weight managing €3.55/kg.

O grading Friesian cows are coming in at €3.50/kg, while O grading suckler cows are able to squeeze €3.60/kg out of the market.