Many politicians are deciding not to contest the upcoming election and are getting out while they are still ahead.
For the past few years, the only reason many beef farmers didn't get out was because they were not 'ahead' and there was nowhere else for them to go.
Thankfully, a number of positives in the sector have ensured that beef men are looking forward with a lot of optimism.
Apart from reduced numbers and a rising world market price, another plus is the recent opening of the trade with Turkey. German farmers report prices to have increased by up to €200/hd since last November.
The feeling in the industry here is that it will be the independent plants outside of Kepak, AIBP, Dawn and Slaney that are likely to supply this market with young bull beef.
Farmers selling at the moment are meeting an interested market with all plants keen to grab stock.
Last week's kill was estimated to be 23,873hd, which was more than 800 animals down on the same week last year.
A base price of 336c/kg is available to be worked off for steers, with a 345c/kg base for heifers. For the in-spec heifers, Donegal is paying 361c/kg, 353c/kg and 344c/kg for U, R and O grades respectively, with the steers at 3c/kg less in each category. If selling young bulls, aim for 350-353c/kg for Us, 339-342c/kg for Rs and 325-328c/kg for O grades.
Many farmers are bargaining for, and securing, flat prices for a mix of different grades. All the prices mentioned are to be got wherever you are as the plants involved cover a full geographical spread of the country including the big three and most of the independent plants.
The IFA's Michael Doran said that with such factory interest, finishers are demanding base prices of 336-342c/kg for steers and 342-350c/kg for heifers, with the Turkish market giving them the confidence to look for up to 360c/kg for young bulls.
Cull cows are probably the best sellers at the moment, with many reports of 302-308c/kg flat being paid for well-fleshed cows. Good competition in the north-east sees the best prices being paid in that part of the country. Donegal is paying 298c/kg for good O+ cows over 320kg carcass.
Moyvalley is quoting 286-291c/kg with a top of 302c/kg. Further south, the O and P grades are making 280-286c/kg with R-grade prices at 286-291c/kg.
An Bord Bia reported that the cattle trade strengthened last week as supplies remained tight. This, combined with strong demand after Christmas, is helping trade. Quotes for R-grade steers this week under the Quality Payment System were steady, with prices quoted at around 330-336c/kg.
Heifer prices also increased and base quotes were 336-342c/kg.
These prices exclude the six cent on in-spec, Quality-Assured stock. Cow prices also strengthened with quotes typically at 280-291c/kg, reflecting strong manufacturing demand.