Factory prices on finished cattle are stuck in a rut, with no movement on price deals or base quotes this week.
This keeps quotes on U-3 grading animals on 394p/kg, with the vast majority of price deals on steers and heifers between 400p and 404p/kg.
Higher prices are reserved for regular finishers that can offer bigger numbers or farmers with a good supply of butcher-type heifers.
While beef prices are running 30p to 35p/kg above those on offer for the same week last year, the current beef price has been static around 400p/kg since June, while inputs have escalated in value.
Prices at local plants continue to lag behind those on offer in Britain, where U grading heifers are averaging 425p/kg, with steers at the same grade averaging 420p/kg.
Last week, the average price paid across all grades of steers and heifers rose by 1.2p to 393.37p/kg
Mart managers report that buying activity from specialist finishers remains strong and farmers with smaller numbers continue to offload animals live to increase sale value.
Prices for good-quality U grading animals in the live ring are holding at 230p to 240p/kg, which converts to a beef price in the region of 403p to 420p/kg. However, plainer cattle are broadly in line with factory prices.
Last week, the average price paid across all grades of steers and heifers rose by 1.2p to 393.37p/kg.
There were 95 cattle shipped from NI to southern plants, with no cattle moving from NI to Britain
Prices on U3 steers strengthened by 2.1p to average 402.6p/kg, while heifers at the same grade improved by 0.9p to 404.7p/kg.
Young bulls with U3 conformation averaged 392.5p/kg.
Irish cattle imported for direct slaughter at NI plants totalled 348 head, the lowest weekly total since late May.
This breaks down to 209 prime animals and 139 cows.
There were 95 cattle shipped from NI to southern plants, with no cattle moving from NI to Britain.
Cull cows are a slower trade as supplies increase.
Base quotes on R3 animals remain on 310p/kg, with O+3 cows on 300p/kg. Deals for good-quality lots are typically 320p to 330p/kg.
NI sheep: base quotes rise to 505p/kg
Buying demand for fat lambs is growing in the marts, leaving factories with little option but to increase prices. Quotes have increased by 5p to 500p/kg with one plant on 505p/kg, making lambs worth £106.50 at 21kg deadweight. However, more money is on offer at a push.
In Kilrea, 550 lambs made 440p to 510p/kg, up slightly on last week.
Lambs at 25kg sold to £113.50, with 24kg to £108, 22kg to £105, while store lambs at 16kg made £83.50
In Massereene, 960 lambs made 450p to 480p/kg, up 10p to 14p/kg on last week.
Top prices were for 22.5kg at £105.50, 23.5kg at £110 and 23kg at £107. Heavy lambs at 26kg sold to £114.
The trade in Saintfield saw 832 lambs making 455p to 514p/kg, up 10p/kg for heavier lambs. Heavy lots at 27kg sold to £115.
Lambs at 25kg sold to £113.50, with 24kg to £108, 22kg to £105, while store lambs at 16kg made £83.50.
In Rathfriland, 797 lambs averaged 476p/kg, up 2p/kg on last week. In Ballymena, big pens of good-quality lambs at 25kg sold from £110 to £113, 23kg made £108, with 21.5kg at £98. A pen of 18kg stores made £93.
The fat ewe trade is holding steady. In Massereene, top price was £120 for a Cheviot, with Charollais at £115, Mules to £105 and Blackface to £67. Saintfield sold ewes to £155, with the main run from £102 to £152. In Rathfriland, the top was £139.