Quotes have started out this week at a similar place where they left off last week.

There was some chat in factory circles that quotes would drop to €4.65/kg for bullocks this week, but this hasn’t materialised, with most plants standing on at last week’s base quotes of €4.70/kg for bullocks and €4.75/kg for heifers.

There is a little more going in some cases, with a few bigger feeders able to squeeze out €4.80/kg and even €4.85/kg this week for bigger loads of bullocks and heifers.

Angus and Hereford cattle are still in high demand, with up to 30c/kg bonuses being paid for in-spec Aberdeen Angus bullocks and heifers this week.

A little light on flesh

Speaking to some procurement managers at the end of last week, they are seeing an increase in the number of animals being presented for slaughter a little light on flesh.

Some farms, especially in the south of the country, have seen cattle under-perform when compared with other years and are struggling to put on flesh, especially where meal wasn’t introduced.

To avoid losing out on any bonuses, farmers are urged to handle cattle before slaughter to make sure cattle are fit enough for slaughter.

Bulls are being quoted at €4.70/kg to €4.75/kg for R and U grading bulls, with a few regular, bigger suppliers still squeezing €4.80/kg for U grading bulls.

Friesian bulls are being quoted at €4.50/kg to €4.55/kg, depending on weight and flesh cover. Under-16-month bulls are generally working off a base of €4.70-€4.80/kg.

Cows continue to be the highlight of the trade, with U grading cows coming in at €4.80/kg to €4.90/kg.

R grading cows are being quoted at €4.60/kg to €4.70/kg. However, those with numbers have been able to strike deals 5c to 10c/kg higher than the official quoted prices.

British trade

Across the water, the beef trade is very steady, with all categories of stock seeing a slight rise in the last two weeks.

The latest market data from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) shows that R4L bullocks are working off £4.48/kg (the equivalent of €5.25/kg), with heifers working off a similar quote.

Manufacturing beef remains in big demand, with retailers seeing some consumers moving to cheaper offerings such as mince and stewing meat in recent weeks.

Cattle continue to move to Northern Ireland for direct slaughter in big numbers, with 763 moving north for slaughter two weeks ago, with the majority of this made up of prime cattle.

This was the highest number of cattle exported for direct slaughter in the last two years.