One of the Irish flags heading for the Euros in Poland attracted quite a bit of attention from the paparazzi. The slogan on it read: "Angela Merkel thinks we're at work."
One group definitely working hard at the moment are factory agents and procurement personnel.
With demand remaining strong and supplies down to an estimated 23,640 last week, the processors are finding it very difficult to secure adequate numbers.
This augurs well for farmers selling but there remains quite a difference between what some farmers are willing to accept and what others are successfully bargaining for and getting.
Over the weekend I spoke to one man that had taken as low as 410c/kg base for his steers last week and looked like accepting a base of 415c/kg this week.
I also met a finisher who had bargained for and secured 425c/kg for his Rs while in-spec R grades travelling into Donegal meats are making up to 432c/kg.
In general the base quotes and prices fall between 415-425c/kg with more than one plant willing to pay this higher figure. Some farmers are opting to sell flat.
Heifers are commanding from 425-435c/kg on the grid. In-spec R grades in the northwest are at 438c/kg but this only secures second place as 440c/kg is being paid for in-spec heifers in the north-east. If you have a quality assured young heifer killing out around 320kg, the difference in the final price between selling her at 425c/kg and 440c/kg is €48.
The best I heard for a mix of good group of bulls that were mainly Us but with some R grades was 430c/kg up to a maximum of 480kg. 425c/kg was available elsewhere without as much notice passed on the heavier weights. Quotes for the Us run from 425-432c/kg with the Rs at 415-425c/kg. O grades range between 400-415c/kg. IFA livestock chairman, Henry Burns said that beef prices are continuing to edge upwards with finishers cutting individual deals well above general quotes.
There is little or no change on the cull cows. Good heavy cows continue to make from 390-400c/kg. R grades hover between 370-390c/kg while the Os range from 355c/kg up to 382c/kg for the O+ cows in Donegal Meats. Quotes and prices for the P+ types vary from 350-370c/kg.
The cattle trade firmed over the past week according to An Bord Bia, with best trade reported for in-spec prime beef supplies, while demand for cows remained unchanged.
Trade for prime beef continues to be helped by on-going tight supplies both in Ireland and key export markets. Strong demand across our key export markets is being underpinned by the participation of key countries in Euro 2012. Favourable exchange rate movement between sterling and the euro continues to help the competitiveness of Irish beef exports.
Quotes for R grade steers under the Quality Payment System were making from €4.12-4.20/kg.
Heifer quotes ran between €4.22-4.30/kg. These prices exclude the 6c/kg on in-spec quality assured stock. Cow prices remained largely unchanged, with O grade animals typically making between €3.58-3.67/kg.
To date, cattle supplies are running 15pc or almost 100,000 head below last year's levels.
In Britain, the beef trade was reportedly steady. Reported cattle prices from the AHDB showed the R4L grade steers averaging 341.5p/kg deadweight (equivalent to 444c/kg) for the week ended June 2.
On the continent, trade across most of the key markets remained steady.
Demand continues to seasonally improve for steaks, reflecting the recent improvement in weather conditions combined with price promotions across some of the key markets. In France, Irish steer hinds are making around €5.78/kg. R3 young bulls in Germany are up 2c/kg to €3.96/kg, with O3 cows increasing by 1/c to €3.46/kg. In Italy, R3 young bulls are also up 2c/kg to €4.09/kg, while O3 cows have increased by 4c/kg to at €3.022/kg.