Factory prices for finished cattle are holding firm, with base quotes and price deals on offer unchanged from recent weeks.
This keeps base quotes for U-3 grading cattle on 392p to 394p/kg at the top end of the market, although some plants are working on a quote of 386p/kg.
Farmers offloading cattle report that factory agents continue to offer deals above 400p/kg. Where farmers can offer a steady supply of heifers, factory agents are much more flexible on price.
Deals for in-spec heifers start around 406p/kg, but 408p and 410p/kg are freely available to regular finishers with good numbers.
Steers continue to sit around 402p/kg to 404p/kg, with larger finishers securing 2p to 4p/kg more for supplying larger numbers on a regular schedule.
Young bulls are moving from a base of 394p/kg, although deals are available that match steer price, provided bulls meet certain carcase weight limits.
Cattle processed under premium breed schemes are being purchased in line with official base quotes before bonus payments apply.
There are reports of flat-rate deals on offer to regular finishers at some plants, with no penalties being applied on cattle exceeding conventional carcase weight limits.
Last week, the average price paid across all grades of steers and heifers rose by 0.8p to 393.61p/kg.
On U3 grading cattle, the average price paid on steers increased by 0.6p to 403.6p/kg, while, for heifers, the average price paid jumped 2.6p to 407.5p/kg. Young bulls averaged 396.7p/kg, a 1p/kg increase week on week.
Factory throughput totalled 10,489 last week, of which 7,324 head were prime cattle and 2,835 were cull cows. Irish cattle imported for direct slaughter at local plants fell by 221 head to 252.
Base quotes on cull cows have eased again to 290p/kg for R3 grading animals, with O+3 cows on 280p/kg as supplies increase. However, price deals above 320p/kg are on offer for good-quality suckler types.
NI sheep: base quotes jump 20p/kg
Processing demand for fat lambs remains buoyant, with the live trade returning over £130/head for quality lots.
To keep pace, local factories have increased quotes to 570p/kg for lambs, which on a 22kg lamb carcase is worth £125.40.
In Kilrea, 650 lambs made 510p to 590p/kg, up 28p/kg for heavier lambs. Lambs at 25.5kg made £130 and 22.5kg made £125.50.
In Massereene, 802 lambs made 500p to 555p/kg, little change on last week.
Heavy lambs at 27kg sold to £130, with a big run at 26kg selling from £126 to £129.
Saintfield sold 545 lambs from 520p to 600p/kg, up slightly on heavier lambs. Lambs at 30kg sold to £131, with 25kg to £126, 24kg to £124.50, 23kg to £123 and 22kg to £116.50. Store lambs at 18kg sold to £105, up by £3 on last week.
In Ballymena, 26kg sold to £131.50, with 25kg selling to £128.50. Stores at 18.5kg made £100.
Fat ewes are a solid trade. In a plainer show, Massereene sold Charollais to £120, Suffolks to £115 and Mules to £100.
Saintfield sold to a record £209, with the main run from £127 to £191.