Despite some factories attempting to dampen the trade this week, agents remain very active on the ground and in marts trying to fill orders, IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden has said.

The IFA has said prices in the UK are strong and steady, reflecting the demand in supermarkets where beef sales continue to perform.

The latest R4L price for steers in Great Britain is the vat-inclusive equivalent of €4.64/kg. The latest prime Irish composite price is 5c/kg above the export benchmark price.

Positive market

Golden said the predictions for 80,000 fewer cattle this year combined with the performance of beef in key supermarket trade creates a positive market environment that must be reflected in beef prices paid to farmers.

Prices this week are €3.80/kg for steers and €3.85/kg for heifers, with higher deals for larger and specialist lots. Young bulls are ranging from €3.75 to €3.95/kg for R and U grades.

Cows are starting at €3/kg for P grades and pushing up to €3.60/kg at the top end for good grading continentals, with a lot of cows selling in the €3.20-€3.40/kg range.

The IFA has said farmers unable to secure higher factory prices should seriously consider the mart trade, where factory agents have been particularly active for finished cattle over the past few weeks.