You do not say where in the country you are and by the sound of it you are a long way away from your nearest live market.why?
However your comments about only using deadweight selling and being much better off may well be true some of the time. Those of us who do not have the luxury of nearby competitive abattoirs on our doorstep have to rely mostly on the local markets which in this area operate well and you have the option of putting a reserve price on your stock.
The deadweight price is still set by the live auctions so the greater control the large mostly Irish owned abattoirs have over supply and demand the weaker the individual farmers become in getting a fair price. There is no way the recent beef price increase would have occurred unless the live price had rocketed up, especially the cull cows.
The large finishers do get a different price and terms through the big abattoirs for obvious reasons. The live markets often help to level these differences.
The important point is that with the live markets you need a good dialogue with the Auctioneer and understand the value of your stock and are you sending them to the right market.
There is absolutely no point in taking lean dairy bred cattle to a market that specialises in Suckler bred beef.
I send both ways but would prefer to sell everything live, however being in a TB1 area makes selling cattle live very difficult now.
I wonder how many Store Cattle sellers this Spring were very pleasantly surprised by the value of their stock through the markets!!