The heifers are commanding a premium of 3c/kg over the bullocks. Elsewhere, the heifers are quoted at a base range of 355-362c/kg in the main. I did hear of 365c/kg being offered from an AIBP plant in the southern half of the country, and up to 370c/kg was mentioned for Kepak Clonee and for R+ heifers over 320kg going into Slaney Meats.
The IFA's Michael Doran advised farmers to strongly reject the negative price pressure from the factories, which he described as totally unjustified and opportunistic.
He added that some plants have increased the cow prices by 6c/kg this week, which reflects the real beef market demand and also that the fifth quarter is worth 30-35c/kg to the factories.
Prices for U-grade bulls range from 355-375c/kg, with the Rs at 350-365c/kg. O grades quotes are running from 339-347c/kg.
Tops for heavy U-grade cull cows appears to be the 345c/kg from Moyvalley, where the Rs are making up to 330c/kg. Kildare has also been mentioned at this 330c/kg for the Rs. Donegal is paying 333c/kg for the Us, 328c/kg for the Rs and 322c/kg for the O grades. Generally, the P+ grades are being quoted at 291-314c/kg depending on carcass weight. The O grades are ranging from 298-319c/kg, with the Rs at 314-330c/kg.
Cattle supplies are running 5pc lower than the same period last year, according to figures from Bord Bia.
The trade in Britain remained firm, reflecting ongoing tight supplies, with demand reportedly steady across all parts of the carcass.
Reported cattle prices from the AHDB have firmed further, with GB R4L grade steers averaging Stg335.4p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 402c/kg including VAT deadweight) for the week ended September 17.
On the Continent, demand continued to seasonally adjust from hindquarter product to forequarter product. The best trade reported was for heels and featherblades.
In Germany, R3 young bull prices fell by 3c to €3.70/kg, while O3 cows prices dropped by 7c to €2.97/kg. R3 young bulls fell by 12/c to €3.78/kg in Italy, while O3 cow prices remain unchanged at €2.96/kg.
In France, the German cow hind is making €4.63-4.73/kg, while the Irish steer hind is making €5.26-5.46/kg inclusive of VAT.
Meanwhile, Spanish beef consumption has dropped by nearly 8pc over the past 12 months to leave per capita consumption at 6.5kg. In an effort to boost sales, Spanish retailers have been aggressively reducing beef prices to the point where beef steaks have been priced lower than chicken breasts at €6.99/kg in Carrefour last week.
Elsewhere, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney welcomed a decision by the Singaporean authorities to lift their suspension on the importation of beef from Ireland following a successful inspection visit to Ireland by a high-level Singaporean veterinary delegation in July, to examine our beef control systems.
Suitable animals will be aged under 30 months and originate from a list of specifically approved plants.