Cattle throughput at local factories reached its highest level for 12 months with 10,564 animals processed last week as plants focus on sourcing beef for the Christmas trade.
Closer analysis shows the number of prime cattle processed broke the 8,000 head barrier for the first time since spring 2011.
To manage higher throughput, processors have scaled back on cows and are operating on a six-day kill schedule.
Base quotes remain on 394p/kg for U-3 grading animals, although most reports continue to put cattle moving off farm from a starting price of 400p/kg.
Supplies of slaughter-fit steers are much more widely available than heifers and as such, it is harder to negotiate for price deals beyond 402p and 404p/kg.
In contrast, cattle agents are much more flexible on in-spec heifers with deals of 406p/kg being reported with greater regularity this week.
Last week, the average price paid across all grades of steers and heifers was relatively static at 393.3p/kg
Out-of-spec cattle and young suckler-bred bulls are being bought in line with base quotes, but there are reports of wholesalers offering flat-rate deals to regular suppliers for such animals.
Last week, the average price paid across all grades of steers and heifers was relatively static at 393.3p/kg.
On U3 grading steers, the average price paid slipped by 0.9p/kg whereas the average price paid on heifers at the same grade rose by 1.8p to 406.5p/kg. U3 grading bulls averaged 390.6p/kg.
NI cattle shipped to Irish factories totalled 96 head, of which 95 were cows
Imports of Irish cattle for direct slaughter at NI plants rose by 120 head to 468, of which 332 were prime animals and 136 being cows.
NI cattle shipped to Irish factories totalled 96 head, of which 95 were cows. Cattle shipped from NI to abattoirs in Britain totalled 34 head.
Base quotes on cull cows remain on 310p/kg for R3 animals, with O+3 cows on 300p/kg. However, quotes fall short of the price deals on offer, which remain in the region of 330p/kg are on offer for good quality suckler types.