Belgian blues top heifer prices at marts over the past 6 years
The Irish Independent receives data from marts on a daily basis. This data describes every animal put up for sale at these marts since November of 2011.
Our analysis focuses on animals sold between November of 2011 and November of 2016 to identify the average price per kilo and how it has evolved over this time period.
The study of heifer prices from late 2011 to 2016 showed that market outlook and confidence in the trade influenced cattle prices as much as factory quotes from finished stock.
While heifers can be divided at marts into those bought for breeding proposes as opposed to those bought for beef production, this study simply looked at the sale prices achieved.
It is worth noting that November 2016 and October 2012 were two of the weakest periods for heifer prices. In November 2016 mart prices for heifers averaged €1.96/ kg, while €1.97/kg was paid in October 2012.
The factory base price for heifers in October 2012 ranged from €3.85/kg to €3.90/kg, while factory prices for November 2016 went from €3.70- 3.80/kg. That’s a difference of 10-15c/kg or from €30-45/hd on a 300kg carcase, while the 1c/kg mart difference between the two periods equates to just €3-6/hd on a 300-600kg animal.
This suggests that an absence of farmer confidence rather than lower factory quotes had a more immediate impact on mart prices. However, a lift in factory quotes can influence farmer confidence, as was seen in the spring and early summer of 2015 when heifer prices hit their highest average at €2.42/ kg in July.