There appears to be as little difference between the various meat plants on base quotes for steers as there was between the Tipperary and Kilkenny hurlers in last Sunday's epic All Ireland final.
There is however, a big difference between the levels of excitement generated in Croke Park and what you get from a conversation about the beef trade this week.
I suppose, like Kilkenny folk after Hawk-Eye, we have to be grateful for any mercies. Quotes staying stable at 360c/kg for the third or fourth week running can be deemed as a small positive. This is especially so given that last week's estimated kill of over 34,000hd was not only 3,140hd up on last year but also one of the largest weekly kills since 2011.
So, while the in-spec steers are at a base of 360c/kg, the out of spec types are at a base of 10-15c/kg lower. It is a similar story for the heifers, While I didn't hear of any steers making more than the quote, I did hear of more than one plant willing to deal at a base of 365c/kg for the heifers.
This might be seen as encouraging given the big kill, but it could also be a case of the heart ruling the head. Farmers with in-spec Friesian bullocks are having to work hard to secure base prices of above 340c/kg.
The bull trade remains unchanged with small numbers on offer. The best I heard was 370c/kg for well finished U grades killing out around the 400-420kg dw. Some plants were quoting up to 365c/kg for them while others were offering as low as 350c/kg. Quotes and prices for the R grades varied from 340-355c/kg while the Os ranged from 310-320c/kg in the main.
Cull cows are selling for prices of 280-340c/kg depending on grade, weight and fat score. The tops are making anything from 320-340c/kg. O grades are selling between 300-320c/kg while the P cows are moving at 280-300c/kg.
Meanwhile, according to AHDB/ELBEX all prime UK deadweight average prices increased another 4p on the week to 339.5p/kg (423c/kg) - prices have now strengthened 13p/kg (16c/kg) over the last month. Robust competition fis driving the increase as reports suggest demand is moderately ahead of current supplies.
With significantly fewer steers marketed, the overall steer average price increased by the equivalent of 3-4c/kg to 428c/kg while the R4L steers were at the equivalent of 438c/kg for the first time since mid-May this year. Heifer prices followed similar developments with the overall average up to 429c/kg.
The R3 young bull price was up 10c/kg on the week to 410c/kg/kg. It has moved up 20c/kg from the low point in the year so far that occurred just 5 weeks ago.
Meanwhile, speaking of the IFA meeting in Castlerea last week, IFA President Eddie Downey said Minister Coveney will have to remain centrally involved to ensure genuine progress is made in resolving the price and specification cuts in the beef sector this year.