The beef trade remains steady this week, with quotes starting off where they left off last week.

Quotes for bullocks remain at €4.10/kg, with €4.15/kg going to larger and more regular suppliers.

It’s a similar story with the heifer trade, with quotes generally working off €4.15/kg, with €4.20/kg going to the bigger suppliers.

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford stock remain in high demand, with bonuses of up to 20c/kg being paid for suitable in-spec stock.

Young bulls

Young under-16-month bulls continue to work off a base of €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg.

Older under-24-month bulls are being quoted €4.15/kg to €4.20/kg for U grades, with €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg being quoted for R grading bulls.

Cow prices back

Cows are a little steadier after some factories reduced prices last week.

There is a wide divergence in prices around the country, with P+3+ grading cows being quoted as low as €3.30/kg in the south and as high as €3.50/kg in the northern end of the country.

R grading suckler cows are still in demand, with €3.70/kg to €3.80/kg being quoted for well-fleshed cows.

Northern Ireland trade steady

Quotes in Northern Ireland are a little steadier this week, with factory demand cooling off a little in the last few days.

There is a feeling that this will be short-lived, with factories anxious for supplies for the second half of June.

Chinese market

News last week that Chinese beef imports were up 20% has frustrated beef finishers, with Ireland currently locked out of the market.

Issues with production in Brazil due to cattle supplies has meant exports to China are under pressure.

Drought in Australia has also affected cattle throughput, which has also reduced exports to China in recent weeks.

Finally, Argentina is placing a 30-day ban on exports to curb inflation.

This again will mean a reduced supply of beef to China in the next weeks and months.

If access for Irish beef to China can’t be agreed in the next few weeks when China is under pressure for beef imports, you would question when it will happen.

Diplomatic efforts have been made to regain access, but no real progress has been made.

Ireland will have been locked out of the Chinese markets for 12 months this week.