With the lockdown starting to ease and big players such as McDonald's preparing for a phased return to normal trading, factory prices here continue to improve.
Farmers with cull cows have benefited most so far, with their prices last week hardening by around another 10c/kg.
Those with good numbers of fit cows are now reported to be securing from €3.10-3.20/kg for Rs, with combined loads of O and better P grades achieving a flat €3/kg.
The trade for bullocks and heifers also continues to harden with quotes yesterday up by another 5-10c/kg. Over the weekend agents were instructed "not to leave anything suitable" behind them.
This has left bullocks around €3.55-3.60/kg with heifers firm on €3.60/kg. Other reports indicate that where the quality and quantity of heifers was sufficient, €3.70/kg had been offered.
The trade for bulls, however, is reported to be still sluggish with prices in general only moving up 5c/kg leaving U grades on €3.60, Rs at 3.50 and better O grades on €3.40/kg.
A Dawn Group spokesperson told me "trade is now reasonable" and that they are "slowly getting back to normal."
With the weekly cattle kill continuing to operate around the 25,0000-26,000 mark will factories be forced to give more?
"Cattle are scarce as is traditional at this time of year and the good one will always be wanted," said the Dawn spokesperson. When I pressed further, I got the following reply: "There is a degree of confidence in the trade coupled with low supplies and steady demand." Meaning? "Prices will hold."
However, the Dawn spokesperson also pointed out that it was his understanding that Minette Batters, president of the NFU in England seemed intent on further prioritising British beef on supermarket shelves. This could "possibly make things difficult for us in the autumn," was the final word from the Dawn man.
The scheduled departure of another boat from Waterford this week with a 1,200 head destined for Algeria, was quoted by many I spoke to as one of the reasons why prices have risen at the factory gates.
Several agents told me that "factories had no choice but to up the ante on price"
Meanwhile, the decision by Independent TD Denis Naughten to haul three Government ministers before the Dail's business committee to account for the high levels of Covid-19 infection in some meat plants won't have made him very popular in the farming community.
Likewise with Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin and his call to halt processing at meat plants to facilitate a "deep clean".
At the outset of this crisis the Government prioritised certain industries as being vital to "the delivery of essential services" and among those essential services was the food industry.
I asked the question last week in relation to Covid infections within meat plants as to whether or not workers' unions should take an active part in voicing concerns.
Speaking with a veterinary union representative at the weekend I was told that his members continue to work in the sector under the strictest of HSE guidelines.
Looking abroad, there are some interesting developments. Relations between Australia and China have soured following China's decision to ban Australian beef imports following the Australian decision to support calls for an independent inquiry into the origins of Covid-19.
Figures from the EU Commission's Meat Market Observatory show the uptake of allocated beef and veal import quotas from outside the union to be sharply down when compared to the same period in 2019.
The total allocated tonnage under the Hilton Agreement for the first half 2020 is set at 22,500, but as of April 20 that figure stood at just 12,536 tonnes, a drop of almost 46pc.