Although the quoted prices for stock at the factories have remained stable, actual prices being paid to farmers have slipped in recent weeks.
The top-up on the quoted prices which the processors were willing to pay to get stock has been tightened.
Base prices for steers are quoted at 380-385 cent/kg (135p-137p/lb), and factory agents are trying very hard to buy within that price range. Only the exceptional lots are making 5-8 cent/kg more.
Heifer prices being quoted have tightened to a premium of 10 cent/kg (4p/lb) over steer prices.
But there is slightly more latitude at the top of the trade, where processors appear more willing to pay up to 15 cent /kg more for heifers than steers.
It is generally accepted that the base line on quoted prices for the autumn has been reached.
But processors are tightening on the top-up, in order to squeeze something extra out of their side of the deal, before the cattle intake eases.
Intake last week was a few hundred head up on the previous week, at 32,925 head, but as each week passes, the peak supply for 2012 seems less likely to exceed 33,000, and the focus of attention is switching to the uncertainty about the level of supply from farms for the rest of the year.
Farmers hope that a tighter supply will be enough to deliver stronger prices over the coming weeks, when killing for the Christmas trade gets under way.
Meanwhile, they continue to question the widening gap between Irish and UK prices for similar grade stock.
Another widening gap is the difference of up to €100 head between factories for both steers and heifers of similar grade and weight.
This difference is not showing in the base price range, but it is very evident in several grades outside of the base, and has a significant effect on returns to farmers. because most livestock fall outside the base grades.
Cow prices are steady at a base of 300-340 cent/kg for O/P grades, and up to 345 cent/kg is being paid for the heavier cows making R grade.
In the UK last week, cattle prices increased slightly, with R4L grade steers averaging equivalent to 463 cent/kg (165p/lb) including VAT.
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