Finished cattle continue to hover above the 400p/kg barrier as September gets under way, making prime animals worth 30p to 40p/kg more when compared with the same week last year.
On a 380kg steer carcase, the price differential is worth an additional £152 to finishers, before accounting for the rise in feed and other inputs.
When compared with September 2019, the same animal is currently worth an extra 80p/kg or £300.
Sales of beef are strong, within the retail and food service markets. However, the prospects for beef prices edging upwards is being curtailed by on-going staffing issues at processing plants.
Heifers also start around 404p/kg, with 2p to 6p/kg more on offer depending on the numbers on offer
As such, official base quotes continue to hold around 392p to 394p/kg for U-3 grading animals. However, most plants are opening on 398p to 400p/kg.
In-spec steers are moving off farm around 402p to 404p/kg, with 2p to 4p/kg more for regular finishers that have larger numbers. Out-of-spec animals are being bought at base price.
Heifers also start around 404p/kg, with 2p to 6p/kg more on offer depending on the numbers on offer.
Young bulls are generally moving at official base quotes up to 400p/kg, with the higher prices paid on in-spec animals.
Last week, the average price paid across all grades of cattle was marginally higher on 391.62p/kg
Supplies of finished cattle and processing demand are closely aligned.
And with no sign of any surge in cattle numbers on the horizon, this is keeping the trade steady.
Last week, the average price paid across all grades of cattle was marginally higher on 391.62p/kg, with U3 steers up 0.8p to 403.3p/kg.
For heifers at the same grade, the average price increased by 2p to 405.4p/kg, whereas young bulls slipped 4p to 395.1p/kg.
Official base quotes on cull cows are unchanged, which keeps R3 grading animals on 312p/kg and O+3 cows on 10p/kg less.
However, base quotes continue to fall well below the actual price deals on offer, which start at 330p/kg and rise to 350p/kg for better-quality animals.
NI sheep: lamb trade holding firm
There were more lambs on offer in the marts this week, which resulted in a much steadier trade.
Factory quotes are also unchanged at 495p/kg, making a lamb worth £103.95 at the 21kg deadweight limit.
In Kilrea, 750 lambs sold from 448p to 466p/kg, no change for the main run of lambs.
Massereene sold 926 lambs from 440p to 482p/kg, no change on last week. The top price for 22kg was £105.50 and 23kg made £109. Heavy lambs at 25.5kg made £112, with a big run from £106 to £108.50.
The trade in Saintfield saw 688 lambs make 440p to 500p/kg, a drop of around 10p/kg or £2 on last week.
Prices paid reached £110 and £107.50 for 26kg lambs. Lambs at 25kg made £106, 23kg to £104 and 22kg to £101. Store lambs at 17kg made £83.
Rathfriland had a big show, with a sale average of 458p/kg, down 7p/kg on last week.
In Ballymena on Wednesday morning, 24.5kg lambs made £104, 23kg made £100 and 22.5kg made £99.
The trade for fat ewes was easier this week. In Massereene, a Charollais was top at £130, while Suffolk ewes sold to £120, Mules to £115 and Blackface to £76.
In Saintfield, top prices were £150 and £146, with the main run from £100 to £138. The top in Rathfriland was £152.