The past 10 weeks of this year have seen factory quotes for beef cattle rise by between 45c/kg and 50c/kg.

Agriland’s analysis has shown that 10 weeks ago (Monday, January 17) in-spec Quality Assured-heifers were trading at €4.30 – €4.35/kg on the grid, while steers were ranging from €4.25-€4.30/kg.

R-grade cows were trading at €3.80-€3.90/kg, while R-grade under-24 month bulls were at trading at €4.20-€4.25/kg.

Today (Monday, March 28) heifer quotes are generally at €4.80/kg on the grid, with a few weaker quotes of €4.75/kg. The lower quote for heifers is cutting no ice with beef finishers, and most lots of heifers are moving at the higher price of €4.80/kg.

Meanwhile, steer quotes are coming in at €4.75/kg from most processors, with a few at €4.70/kg. Again, processors are likely having to pay the higher price to secure any significant number of steers this week.

A 10c/kg weight bonus available for animals with a carcass weight of between 300-400kg is keeping Foyle Meats in Co. Donegal slightly in front on heifer and steer price, leaving heifers and steers with a carcass weight of between 300-400kg coming in at €4.90 and €4.80/kg respectively.

Further upward movement on price could likely be seen in the later part of this week; a number of processors with lower quotes moved up 5c/kg for beef this week, while the higher-end of the price scale held quotes at the same level as last week.

Looking at the cow trade this week and prices have remained fairly steady on the higher-end of the scale, however a few of the lower quotes have moved up by as much as 10c/kg in the cow category this week.

Well-fleshed U-grade cows are securing €4.50-€4.60/kg and R-grade cows are securing €4.40-€4.50/kg, depending on the processor.

O-grade cows are coming in at €4.20/kg, with some managing to secure €4.30/kg, while fleshed P-grade cows over 280kg are securing from €4.10/kg upwards, depending on weight and fat cover.

Under-24 month bulls are at a flat price of €4.70- €4.75/kg for an R-grade, with U-grades securing 10c/kg more and better type O-grades making 10c/kg less. Plainer-type O-grade bulls are securing 4.50-€4.55/kg.

Finally, under-16 month bulls are being quoted at €4.65-€4.70/kg this week.

Some processors have noted more farmers arriving at factory lairages with short-fleshed cattle and stressed that beef cattle should ideally, have a fat score of 2+ or above before going to the factory.