There has been less pressure on farmers to move cattle this back end, which has led to more orderly drafting of slaughter-fit stock.

When weather broke a couple of weeks ago, there was an increased urgency to draft cattle, but this slackened off last week following a brief upturn in weather.

Factory agents are keen to maintain a high level of throughput and many agents have been more active in trying to encourage higher numbers forward.

This is maintaining a solid floor under prices, with bullocks continuing to trade in the main on a base of €4.15/kg, while heifers are trading on a base of €4.20/kg and in cases on a base of €4.25/kg.

Greater scope

There is greater scope for finishers with stronger negotiating power to secure a base price of €4.25/kg for heifers than a base of €4.20/kg for bullocks.

There also appears to be growing appetite for Angus and Hereford stock, with numbers starting to ease back.

The only category of stock where there has possibly been a slight weakening in the trade is for poor-quality dairy cows coming direct from the parlour and lacking flesh.

Farmers with such cows should query potential cuts before moving cows, as there are reports of up to €1/kg lower being paid for light-carcase P grading cows killing fat score 1.

Cow trade

The general trade for cows remains robust, with O grading cows from €3.60/kg to €3.80/kg, depending on negotiating power.

R grades range from €3.80/kg to €3.90/kg and U grades from €3.90/kg to €4.00/kg.

More dairy cows coming on stream in the south of the country has meant cow quotes are back a little this week, especially in the south.

P+3 cows have dropped back to between €3.40/kg and €3.50/kg, with O grading cows coming in at €3.60/kg to €3.80/kg, again depending on flesh cover.

The trade for young bulls is unchanged, with R grading bulls moving from €4.15/kg to €4.25/kg, while U grades remain capable of securing an extra 5c/kg to 10c/kg. Meanwhile, O grades are selling from €4.00/kg upwards.

Under-16-month bulls are typically being offered a base of €4.10/kg on the grid, with regular sellers and those handling large numbers securing a base price of €4.15/kg.