Factories continue to tighten their grip on the trade. They are all singing off the same hymn sheet this week and employing the same tactics to try to spook the trade.

Many factories are now working off a number of different prices, depending on the farmer customers they are dealing with.

Regular customers and those dealing with numbers are still working off last week’s prices, with some working off quotes similar to prices quoted two weeks ago.

General quotes for bullocks are working off €5.05/kg to €5.15/kg, with heifers working off €5.10/kg to €5.15/kg.

Factories are doing their best to try to make it look like they aren’t bothered about cattle and adopting a take-it-or-leave-it approach when quoting for cattle.

The agents around the ring haven’t been given the same instructions, with mart managers reporting a continued strong trade for factory-fit cattle with plenty of demand for small numbers of stock.

Range in bull quotes

There is a wide range in bull quotes, with some factories trying to buy under-16-month bulls on Monday morning at €5.00/kg, with others quoting as high as €5.20/kg on the grid.

U grading under-24-month bulls are being quoted from €5.10/kg to €5.25/kg, with R grading bulls coming in at €5/kg to €5.20/kg.

Cow prices

Cows are also on a variety of pricing formulae.

Larger finishers dealing with specialist cow processors are still working off €5.10/kg for O grading cows and €5.20/kg for R grading cows.

Other factories have pulled quotes back to €5.00/kg for R grading cows, €4.80/kg for O grading cows and €4.70/kg for P grading cows.

The mart trade for heavy cows is still very strong, with factory agents continuing to be very active around rings.

The weather forecast is giving rain this week and this will likely ease grass pressure

While factories are adamant that the trade has turned, farmers needn’t panic. The weather forecast is giving rain this week and this will likely ease grass pressure on some farms that have been tight.

Very small numbers of grass cattle have been killed to date. The advice is to sit tight and market cattle when they are fit.

Looking across Europe and the UK over the past week, the trade is steady, with numbers tight and demand remaining very solid.

Cows saw a 5p/kg rise in Britain last week, with young bulls seeing a 2p/kg rise.