Rain brings stability as farmers move ahead of grass



Last week’s mart trade was characterised by small sale numbers and a slight strengthening of prices in some sections, notably among heifers.

n the bullock side only the 500-599kg animal recorded an overall increase, gaining 3c/kg to €2.43/kg, and although the better animal in the 400-499kg division added 10c/kg to settle at €2.84/kg, it wasn’t enough to lift his overall average as increased numbers in the bottom quarter dropped their average by 7c/kg to €1.90c/kg.

That said the story in the bullock section was one of general stability with overall average prices from 400-600kg+ fluctuating by just minus 1c/kg to plus 3c/kg.

The 300-399kg steer, however, surrendered recent gains, falling back 14c/kg to average €2.14/kg.

But the majority of marts reported more farmer buyers, resulting in more demand with lesser-quality animals easier sold.

Although prices didn’t all bounce, there was more stability, with the majority of heifers better by 1-5c/kg.

The stability was driven by a steadying in factory prices, plus the recent rain, which prompted farmers to move ahead of any new grass.

In the bigger picture of increased input costs, average prices for continental types across all weight divisions were down 21-36c/kg compared to the week ending June 11, with the 600kg+ bullock worst affected — €216/hd less overall less.

Among the Angus types the overall fall is 18-31/kg, with the better 500kg+ animal down 36-47c/kg or €216-282/hd.

Among the Friesian bullocks the overall reduction ranges from 18c/kg in the 400-499kg section to 30c/kg for the 600kgs+. Again it’s the better-made animal that is worst hit, with good 600kg Friesians back 39c/kg over that seven weeks.

Comparing current bullock prices by breed with this time last year is also revealing.

Continentals under 500kg are only 9-13c/kg overall ahead of 12 months ago, while those over 500kg are 18-22/kg stronger — that’s an increase of €90-132/hd.

Angus under 500kg are stronger by just 16c/kg, with those from 500-599kg better by 24c/kg, while the better-made 600kg+ Angus at €2.64/kg is 26c/kg is stronger by €156/hd.

With the Friesians, the biggest gains from last year are above 500kg with their overall average better by 27-28c/kg, while under 500kg black and white are only 5-12/kg stronger than 12 months ago.

With factory prices for bullocks 60-70c/kg stronger than this time last year, those stronger prices above 500kg are understandable.

However, if there is value to be had on the mart front it appears, on this comparison, to rest among animals below 500kg.

In the Know – Around the marts

Mohill

With a small entry but strong demand, Darragh Barden said forward bullocks and cows were very dear.

Top call went to a 745kg Limousin bullock who sold for €2,400 part of an entry of ten from 655-745kg that averaged €3.20/kg.

Among the lighter stores you have to ask how much was left to in the bank to finish that 550kg Charolais at €1,770.

At the other end of the weight scale, a 300kg Limousin X Angus sold to €2.50/kg.

On the cull cow side the standout performer was a 960kg Charolais at €2,660.

Kanturk

There was also a smaller entry of stock here last week but trade was steady, with good demand for beef and forward types.

Prices among the bullocks included four 685kg Friesians that made €2.19/kg, with four at 640kgs averaging €2.28/kg, while two 620kg Herefords sold for €2.44/kg.

Among the heifers a 500kg Limousin sold for €2.44/kg, with four 405kg Herefords also €2.44/kg, while a 490kg Angus made €2.45/kg.

Top call on cull cow side saw a 760kg Limousin make €2,070, while better heavy Hereford and Friesians made €850-1,000/hd with the weight.

Sixmilebridge

Although smaller than previous week’s sale at 220, Joe Clune noted that with factory prices apparently stabilised he had more farmer buyers in person and online, which resulted in average store bullock or heifer selling from €2.35-2.55/kg.

However, demand for forward types saw two 610kg Herefords make €2.64/kg, with three 630kg Belgian Blues selling for €2.79/kg, while three 478kg Herefords went for €2.66/kg.

Heifer stores saw plenty of action, with a 420kg Charolais making €1,050, followed by a 385kg Limousin at €990, while a 475kg Piedmontese sold for €1,220.

Baltinglass

With extra buyers there was a good selling trade for store bullocks and heifers, extra demand for store cows for feeding firmed their trade further.

Among the forward bullocks, a 610kg Friesian sold to €2.21/kg, while a 650kg Simmental may have disappointed at €2.25/kg.

In the mid-section two 450kg Herefords averaged €2.44/hd, with a 400kg Charolais making €2.63/kg.

At the lighter end better breeding saw a 330kg Charolais click €2.82/kg, followed by a 380kg Hereford at €2.39/kg, while three 430kg heifers averaged €2.26/kg.

Ballinakill

A small sale, but with plenty of customers keen, trade was markedly improved.

Heavy bullocks made €2.10-3.05/kg, with forward bullocks €2.20-3.20/kg and light stores €2.25-3.20.

Among the heifers, beef made €2.10-2.95/kg with stores €2.25-3.15/kg.

Weanling bulls sold from €2.20-3.00/kg with weanling heifers €2.20-3.10/kg. Dry cows peaked at €2.90/kg off a €1.45/kg base.

Castlerea

Numbers here were up on the previous week, and with more customers and more online activity, prices were improved in all sections.

On the bullock side, competition between Northern buyers and Southern agents helped a 725kg Limousin onto €2,340, followed by a 735kg Charolais at €2,200, with a 690kg Angus making €1,840.

On the store side, quality pushed prices, with a 425kg Charolais making €1,250, a 480kg Charolais €1,360 and 535kg Charolais €1,440.

Among the heifers the €3/kg mark was shredded, with among others a 635kg Limousin making €2,090, a 490kg Angus €1,550 and a 455kg Limousin €1,420.

Ballinrobe

Trade here was largely unchanged, with quality selling very well.

The top calls on the heifer side all ranged from €2.80-3.00/kg, with a 500kg Simmental X hitting €3/kg, followed by a 350kg Charolais at €2.94/kg.

Among the bullocks the top call fell just short of €3.00/kg, with a 650kg Limousin making €2.94/kg as the better animal in general sold for €2.65-2.90/kg.

On the springer side the standout price was €1,870 paid for a Charolais with a heifer calf at foot.



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