This week’s factory quotes look a little more positive than they have been of late, with signs indicating that the beef trade may be starting to firm up again.

Processors that were paying the lower prices last week have held quotes for this week while the processors that were ahead on price last week have eased quotes back 5c/kg.

Many of the factories that have held their prices this week had dropped quotes for the past six to eight consecutive weeks. To see these processors holding prices for this week, despite a four-day kill as a result of the October Bank Holiday, is a positive sign.

Prices in the northern part of the country are ahead of the rest of the country with an additional 15c/kg plus a 10c/kg weight bonus available in one Co. Donegal outlet. Some of the smaller wholesaler outlets may also be willing to pay a bit extra for choice lots of heifers or cows.

Factory prices this week

The general run of factory prices in the bullock category this week is €4.50/kg on the grid. A base price as high as €4.65/kg has been quoted to Agriland for steers from one Co. Donegal based outlet.

Heifer quotes are at €4.55/kg on the grid this week at most sites, with the same outlet mentioned above quoting €4.70/kg for heifers with a 10c/kg weight bonus available for suitably fleshed animals with carcass weights in the 300-400kg weight band.

Other processors are also paying bonuses with ABP Food Group having a 20c/kg ‘Sustainability Bonus’ available on all eligible prime cattle belonging to farmers that are members of the processors’ Advantage Beef Programme.

Breed bonuses are still available on Angus and Hereford heifers and steers at most sites.

Cow price is a little more variable, with the lower quotes gaining little traction, and factories are having to pay the higher price to buy any significant numbers of cows.

Processors are quoting €3.80-3.90/kg for P-grade cows this week but the reality is that closer to €4/kg is being paid at many sites where good, finished P-grade cows are being presented.

O-grade cows are being quoted at €3.90-4.00/kg and R-grade cows are being quoted at €4.10-4.20/kg, with an additional 10c/kg being quoted for U-grade cows.

While the above prices are what factories are quoting for cows this week, the reality is that extra money per kilo is being paid where good finished cows are in the equation.

Under-24-month bulls are being quoted at flat prices ranging from €4.50-4.65/kg, depending on the factory, for R-grades, with prices ranging from €4.60-4.75/kg for U-grade bulls.

O-grade bulls are being quoted at €4.30-4.45/kg with €4.20-4.35/kg being quoted for P-grade bulls.

Finally, under-16-month bulls are being quoted at prices ranging from €4.50-4.55/kg on the grid.