The beef trade remains in a very positive position this week as finished cattle are in short supply, particularly in the northern half of the country.
A number of processors are experiencing real difficulty getting sufficient numbers of cattle to kill this week.
The strategy some have been using over the last couple of weeks is sending agents to marts or buying cattle themselves online.
These cattle are being bought at prices way over what they are worth to a farmer to kill but factories see paying high prices for cattle in marts almost anonymously as a better option as opposed to printing €5/kg on a docket for a U grade cow.
Agents have been giving a free hand when buying cattle and have been issued strict instructions not to leave any cattle behind them.
There is more bite in the trade in the northern half of the country with Foyle Meats, Co Donegal, ruffling a few feathers with their base quote of €5.10/kg for heifers and €5.05/kg for bullocks.
Further south, €5.00-€5.05 is the general run of base prices for heifers with bullocks trading 5c/kg below that. Flat prices for Aberdeen Angus heifers range in price from €5.30/kg to €5.50/kg depending on quality.
Factories will buy cattle anyway at the moment just to get them into the lairage.
U grading cows are still hitting €4.85/kg to €4.90/kg, with those with high numbers of good cows able to squeeze a little more out of the market.
R grading cows are trading for as high as €4.80/kg, with good O grading cows coming in at €4.70/kg.
Well fleshed P+3 cows have been paid out at €4.50/kg this week just to secure other cattle as part of a load.
Factory agents are regularly paying in excess of €2.90/kg for heavy well fleshed cows which is in excess of €5/kg. The mart is still the place to go with small numbers of cows.
Bulls are also in demand, with U grading bulls now up at €5.10/kg in a couple of factories with €5.20/kg being paid to a few large feeders this week. R grading bulls are working off €5.00/kg to €5.05/kg depending on flesh cover. Deals are being done at €5/kg for mixes of Rs and Us
Yong bulls are working off €4.90-€5.00/kg with good demand from most factories.