Marts: Downwards pressure on autumn bullock trade
Prices ringside took a tumble two weeks ago as poor weather conditions and continued downward pressure on factory prices coincided with increasing numbers of farmers deciding to move cattle onto the market.
Yet there were still some glimmers of optimism. Last week those price falls were largely reversed in the heifer section, while among the bullocks there was positive movement at both the lighter and heavier ends of the weight spectrum. Overall however, the bullock trade is starting to come under pressure.
To the heifers first, though. Overall average prices from 350-600kg rose last week by a minimum of 1c/kg or €4-5/hd as in the case of the 400-499kg section, while the 500-599kg section increased by 7c/kg or €35-42/hd.
Looking closer, you see the main beneficiary was the top quarter or better-quality heifer as she improved by 6c/kg in the 400-499kg section, 12c/kg in the 500-599kg section and 15c/kg in the 600kg+division. That works out at a maximum of €30, €72 and €90/hd across those three weight divisions.
The poorer-quality heifer in the 600kg+ section got well and truly walloped last week, losing on average 23c/kg, or €138/hd. However, the 15c/kg gain for the better heifer helped reduce the overall average loss to just 3c/kg or €18c/hd.
The 600kg heifer at last week's average price of €2.12/kg is still €36/hd ahead of where she was in mid-August.
The bullock table, however, reflects an autumn trade that is starting to come under pressure.
Looking at how the ringside tables have fluctuated over the last two weeks, you see that the pressure is definitely downwards despite the odd positive return here and there.