Some weeks ago I mentioned that I had spent a couple of hours before beginning this column listening to some of my favourite music, including AC/DC's anthem 'Highway to Hell'. I suggested that factory prices had not quite gone down that road, yet.
This week, however, for those of you with out of spec stock or carcase weights over 420kg, we are in, if not quite hell, a very dark place to say the least.
My sources tell me that quotes for bulls continue to be hard got and those available are at €3.35 and €3.25/kg for U and R grades respectively - a drop of 10-15c/kg. Other reports speak of finishers taking flat prices of €2.80-3.00/kg for heavy and out of spec bullocks.
Some of those who suspect their animals may be borderline in relation to carcase weight penalties opted last week for a grid base of €3.40/kg.
They accepted that weight penalties were possible/probable - the hope being that some of their stock might fall below the cut-off.
For those with in-spec bullocks, prices appeared at the weekend to be holding at €3.40/kg, although €3.35/kg was mentioned by one factory agent.
On the heifer side, the general quote also appears to be €3.40/kg, although Des Morrison of ICMSA mentioned €3.45/kg being offered.
For those with cows, R grades are being priced around the €2.90/kg mark, with Os - depending on kill out - currently at €2.50-2.60/kg. Better P grades continue at €2.40/kg.
Des Morrison confirmed reports I received about the factories reducing their intake, with some plants going to three days and others operating the full five but at half capacity.
And with last week and this week short weeks, due to the Easter break, kill numbers will continue to shrink, meaning more pressure for those with fit stock.
Did ABP's decision to bring in beef from Poland two weeks ago have anything to do with the fact that retail beef prices for UK producers remain relatively strong?
Figures from the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) show that as of last Thursday, R3 grade young bulls were trading at the equivalent of €3.75/kg, with U3 bulls averaging €3.85/kg.
R4L bullocks were on €3.95/kg, with R3s at €3.88/kg, while R4L heifers were making €3.93/kg on average. The U-4L types were on €4.01/kg.
IFA research shows that UK retail beef sales to March 22 were up 35pc in volume terms, with steak cuts up 20pc. In the same period here, retail beef sales were up 22.6pc in volume terms and 19.3pc in value. The IFA are looking for "urgent action" to be taken "to help get finished cattle killed".
Its beef chairman Brendan Golden has put detailed proposals to Minister Creed and the EU Commission on Aids to Private Storage (APS) "in the hope of stabilising the market."
Food-service outlets across Europe generally remain closed, and wholesale suppliers to these channels are left with limited options.
Bord Bia data shows that with significant redundancies across Europe, retailers have ceased promotions to avoid buying spikes.
And global shipping delays continue with around 2m containers idle due to transport disruptions, pushing up the time and cost of shipping goods abroad.