Marts have yet to catch up with the factories' price moves
Some mart mangers I spoke over the weekend reckon that after a couple of weeks when numbers were seen to ease, last week saw bigger sales return.
The effect of the smaller numbers was that the trade remained reasonably steady although as the week progressed the market became a little unbalanced as increased stock numbers coincided with fewer buyers ringside in some places.
Auctioneer Willie Troy of Cashel mart summed it up well when noting that while prices had eased back there were a lot of what he termed “in-between cattle 550-600kgs” who found the going tough.
The ringside figures for the 500-600 kg show average prices easing back in this section by 2c/kg or €10-12/hd while the 600kg+ bullock lost 1c/kg or €6/hd.
It’s a minimal enough adjustment but the reality of the mart trade is that everything is governed by factory prices and last week they edged up by 5c-10c/kg.
This would normally see mart prices edge cautiously upwards but that did not happen.
Instead the contagion in the forward bullock section seemed to have infected the heavier heifer as well because the 500-599kg heifer was the biggest faller in the entire heifer section losing 5c/kg or from €25-30/hd.
Looking at the other lighter weight categories, the majority fell back but here the issue was not age related – it was simply a case of too many cattle and not quite enough buyers.