It’s more bad news for beef finishers this week, as quotes have dropped for the third week in a row.

Bullocks are back to €5.00/kg, while heifers are being bought at €5.05/kg.

There appears to be a north-south divide opening up, with factories further south digging their heels in a bit harder this week on quotes. Plants situated further north appear to be more anxious to get cattle and are willing to be more flexible with quotes.

Reports on the ground are that finished cattle numbers are starting to dry up, with very few shed-finished cattle coming on stream at this stage.

Grass-finished cattle are a long way off, so it is hoped that the shift in supply will lend more power back to farmer finishers.

Bull trade

Under-24-month bulls have also been hit, with bulls now working off €5.20/kg to €5.30/kg for U grading bulls. R grading bulls are being quoted at €5.15/kg to €5.20/kg in some factories.

O grading bulls are being quoted at €5.00/kg to €5.10/kg, while P grading bulls are still being bought at €4.90/kg to €5.00/kg in some factories this week and this depends on weight and fat score of these poorer-quality black and white bulls.

Under-16-month bulls are working off a €5.05/kg to €5.10/kg base price.

Factories are still anxious for cattle and there are few delays, if any, in getting cattle killed this week.

Cow trade

The cow trade continues to perform quote strongly relative to the prime cattle trade, with €5.00/kg to €5.10/kg on the table in some outlets for well-fleshed U grading cows.

No pressure has been applied to the cow trade as of yet, as manufacturing markets continue to be very strong. The good weather has meant barbecue meat sales have been at record levels in some retailers.

R grading cows are working off €4.60/kg to €4.80/kg in the main, with O grading suckler cows coming in at €4.50/kg to €4.60/kg, while O grading dairy cows are being bought at €4.30/kg to €4.40/kg.

P+3 cows are being bought at €4.10/kg to €4.20/kg in some locations.