Farm Ireland
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Monday 24 July 2017

Mart Prices: Steer trade solid but heifers take a wallop

Photo: O'Gorman Photography
Photo: O'Gorman Photography
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

THE message from mart managers I spoke to over the weekend was that trade is “firm” or “firm to maybe improved”.

It is a message echoed very clearly in the Ringside steer table where all weight divisions showed some improvement.

The story isn’t as rosy in the heifer section where the significant gains of two weeks ago largely evaporated last week as suspicions rose around the possibility of negative news on the factory front.

While that speculation has as yet to be fully confirmed, it did appear as of yesterday morning that factories were intent on pulling beef by 5c/ kg. As it is St Valentine’s Day, however, let us start with the good news.

The fondness farmers have for smaller well-shaped stock is manifest in the improved figures from last week for the 300-399kg bullock.

Prices were up 11c/kg on average, or from €33-44/hd, with better ones up 17c/kg or €51-68/hd.Marts such as Gortatlea in Kerry reported very strong demand from buyers for lighter better quality animals be they bulls or bullocks.

The remaining weight divisions, from 400-499kgs and 500-599kgs, recorded modest average gains last week of 2c/kg or from €8-12/hd which is the basis of mart mangers saying the trade was firm to improved


The 600kg+ bullock didn’t fare as well loosing 2c/kg on average. However, the numbers of truly heavy cattle at marts has remained small to date and has resulted in their price being insulated from factory volatility.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the heifers whose prices have yoyoed wildly over the last three weeks. Prices got walloped last week, with average losses of 5c/kg or €20-€30/hd in the 400-599kg sections.

The lighter 350-399kg animals are totally in the doghouse and loosing an average of 21c/kg or €73-84/hd.

Weanlings

The heavy 600kg+ stock also had some of the shine knocked off them with their prices falling back 8c/kg or €48/hd on average Weanling prices also took a hit last week. Bulls fell an average of 15c/kg in the 100-299kg division, with the 300-399kg animal back 12c/ kg.

The poorer quality animal was down by 20-21/ckg, that works out at €20-84/hd. On a more positive note some marts told me that there was renewed interest in heavier bulls.

The market for the better quality lighter 100-299kg heifer was improved by 7c/kg or €7-21/hd last week as shippers moved to fill orders for the Turkish market.

Mart Roundup

1 CASTLEBLANEY

Connell Nugent noted that there appeared to be more stock about last week than expected. There was no overly complicated reason for this other than “lads keep trading and keep the bills paid,” he said. Trade was steady with continental store heifers making from €2.10/kg for the plainer type to €2.59/kg for the fancier type. In the bullock ring €2.26/kg got you a 515kg Limousin, with €2.21/kg the price of a 491kg Simmental. Lghter 265-366kg Friesians traded from €1.50-€1.85/kg.

2 ENNIS

There was a good entry of stock last Thursday with the trade described as “firm” for store stock as average prices increased by about €20/hd. The better store bullock traded off an average of €2.33/kg; store heifers were back at €2.19/kg, with the tops seeing €700 with the €1/kg. In the cow ring, demand for feeder types saw the better continental hitting €2.00/kg, and a shake more on occasion. Aberdeen Angus cows made in the €1.80/kg region.

3 BALLINASLOE

A firm trade saw prices for the nicer store and heavier bullock rise. Bullocks averaged from €2.18-2.71/kg, with that €2.71/kg given at lighter end for a 351kg Charolais. The top of the heifers was a cracking €2.97/kg given for a 300kg Charolais. The general run of heifer prices worked off a base average of €2.26-2.96/kg. Cull cows averaged €948/hd to a top of €1,520.

4 BALLA

An improved trade saw the 450kg bullock making from €1.79-3.30/kg, with the 500kg+ bullock selling for €1.60-2.95/ kg. The store heifer also moved upwards, working off a base of €1.61/kg to a top of €3.29/kg. Heavy heifers sold from €1.67- 3.03/kg. Trade for weanlings was good with lighter bulls averaging from €2.08-3.07/ kg with heavier types at €1.96-2.92/kg. Weanling heifers sold from €1.71-2.71/kg for lighter stock, with heavier ladies on €2.12-3.06/kg

5 MACROOM

Last Saturday’s trade was also good with sample prices of Aberdeen Angus from 465-540kgs showing averages of €2.00-2.11/kg. Moving to lighter stock, three 300kg Herefords sold for €2.65/kg, while two 310kg Charolais were slightly less at €2.58/kg. In the heifer ring, a 675kg Simmental sold for €2.06/kg, with a lighter 470kg Limousine making €2.36/kg.

6 GORTATLEA

Numbers at the Gortatlea weanling sale were up by an average of 33pc on last year. That said, there was no falloff in prices; indeed with strong buyers from across the country the heavier bull weanling saw his price rise from €2.20- 2.50/kg to €2.40-2.60/kg. Lighter bulls averaged €2.50-2.80/kg, with the tops hitting €3.00/kg. With the Turkish market now taking lighter heifer weanlings, this stock hit €2.70/kg.

7 TULLOW

Friday’s sale saw a steady trade with beef and forward bullocks selling from €1.95-2.20/kg. There was a noticeable demand for the fleshier animal. Store bullocks were brisk sellers. Friesians in the €1.85/kg bracket, while the better animal pushed onto €2.75/kg on occasion. Average prices were in the region of €2.20-2.50/kg. Store heifers averaged from €2.00kg to €2.65/kg, while weanling bulls sold for €2.20-2.50/ kg. The cull cow trade saw Friesians sell from €150 with €1/kg to €600 over the weight for continentals.


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