Prices for heavy-fleshed and short-keep cattle sold through local marts have strengthened over the past week as specialist finishers and factory agents compete directly for stock.
Prime U-grading cattle are generally selling from 240p to 250p/kg, a 5p to 10p/kg increase on recent weeks.
At a kill-out of 58%, this converts to a beef price around 414p to 430p/kg, which is ahead of the top prices being paid by factories.
Plainer cattle are generally unchanged, and still moving around the 200p to 210p/kg mark, while good quality slaughter-fit cows are selling from 170p to 210p/kg.
Mart managers’ report an increase in cattle throughput in recent weeks from farmers with small numbers to sell, and who generally struggle to negotiate with processors for price deals above base quotes.
While demand for short-keep cattle grows, there are however, less buyers for mid-weight stores between 450kg and 550kg.
That is thought to be down to growing concerns over fertiliser prices and the availability of grazing next spring.
Well-bred continental types in this weight range are generally making 230p to 250p/kg.
Meanwhile, base quotes for slaughter fit lambs has risen 10p to 575p/kg with deals of 580p to 590p/kg on offer this week.
Prices at Republic of Ireland factories are typically around €7.40/kg which converts to 596p/kg, while prices in Britain have hardened by 5p to 10p/kg with 620p/kg on offer in Scotland.