It has been another week of predominantly green arrows across the MartBids analysis table, as the beef trade continues to trend in a positive direction.
Heavy cattle continue to set the pace, as factory agents and Northern Ireland buyers fight it out to secure numbers.
Lighter stock are also trending in a positive direction, as finishers have to reduce their average purchase weight in order to operate at a price that they are more comfortable with.
With a hint of spring in the air, some grass buyers in the south were starting to dip their toes in the water this week, which also helped the lighter animal.
Heavy bullocks are up 4c/kg or €24/head to €28/head on last week and it sees the average bullock over 600kg making €2.90/kg in the ring.
Converting this to a beef price, it is somewhere in the order of €5.40/kg to €5.45/kg carcase weight.
For the top third of the trade, a massive price of €3.20/kg is now being achieved, which converts to a beef price hovering around the €6/kg mark.
Steers from 500kg to 600kg are also up by 6c/kg on average to €2.82/kg, while at lighter weights, from 400kg to 500kg, there has been a big price lift this week, up 12c/kg on average, as perhaps some of the earliest of grass buyers have decided to show their hand in advance of a potential tight supply of grass cattle in the coming months.
It means that the average price paid in this weight band sits at €2.69/kg.
It is a similar story for heifers, with heavy lots up a huge 7c/kg on last week, adding almost €45/head to the sale price compared to the previous seven days.
There were a number of special fatstock sales this week, which will have bumped the overall averages, as some sales smashed record prices.
The only category to see any sort of a significant price drop was the bottom third of heifers weighing between 500kg and 600kg, back 6c/kg to €2.54/kg.
It extends the price differential between the top and bottom third to 58c/kg in this weight band.
Marts continue to report large entries of cows coming forward for sale.
It is the perfect storm at the moment for cow numbers in marts, with sellers making the most of a positive market, combined with the fact that some farmers had held on to cows to see if there was to be a scrappage scheme introduced this year and also we are seeing fewer cows go directly to the factory, as sellers see more value in putting them through the live ring.
The average price for cows is up another 2c/kg this week to €2.11/kg. Within this, suckler cows are averaging from €2.35/kg to €2.50/kg, while heavier types and cows with better conformation are making €2.70/kg to €2.90/kg for the most part.
Dairy cows are averaging around €1.90/kg, but fitter types are seeing prices in excess of €2.20/kg in some cases.
Thinner and older cows are trading anywhere from €1.25/kg to €1.40/kg for the most part.