The beef trade has moved up another gear this week, with some factories having to move up another 5c/kg to get cattle.

Heifers are being quoted at €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg, with bullocks coming in at €4.00/kg to €4.05/kg.

Some producer groups have been able to secure higher prices where more numbers of cattle are involved.

Factories appear more eager for plainer cattle in the last two weeks, with flat prices improving at an even greater rate than on-the-grid prices.

Friesian bullocks

O grade Friesian bullocks are being quoted €4.20/kg flat in some factories and agents report that once these lesser-quality animals are fleshed, there are a number of factories very eager for them.

Bulls are being quoted at €4.10/kg for U grading bulls, with €4.05/kg on offer from some factories for R grading bulls.

O grading dairy-cross bulls are being quoted at €3.80/kg to €3.90/kg, depending on quality and flesh.

Farmers and bigger finishers with numbers on offer have been able to squeeze another 5c/kg where factories are anxious for stock.

Cow prices

Cows also remain in demand. O grading cows are now being quoted at €3.30/kg to €3.35/kg, while P+3+ cows are coming in at €3.25/kg to €3.30/kg.

Good suckler-type R grading cows are coming in at €3.60/kg to €3.65/kg, with 5c to 15c/kg more being paid for U grading cows, depending on the processor.

UK trade

There appears to be more interest for live cattle from across the water.

A number of exporters are now putting cattle together for export to England for direct slaughter. This ranges from cows to continental slaughter-fit heifers.

Slaughter-fit cattle have been in short supply all across the UK and meat traders concentrating on the food service sector are expecting a big surge in demand coming up to the May bank holiday weekend, which is just two weeks away.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is reporting that beef prices moved up again across the water last week, with R4L steers now being quoted at 409pkg (€5.02 incl VAT).

The biggest price rise came in the young bull category last week, with quotes up 7.7/p/kg (9c/kg).

UK beef production was 5% lower in March 2021 compared with March 2020.