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Independent.ie

Friday 9 December 2016

Marts have yet to catch up with the factories' price moves

Martin Coughlan

Published 22/11/2016 | 17:00

William Deeley from Cahercrea, Loughrea checking the stock at Loughrea Mart.
Picture: Hany Marzouk
William Deeley from Cahercrea, Loughrea checking the stock at Loughrea Mart. Picture: Hany Marzouk

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.

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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.

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The biggest loss per kilo in the bullock section was incurred at lightest weight division with prices falling on average by 9c/kg or from €27-36/hd but last week this division gained 6c/kg or €18- 24/hd so there is a little bit of swings and roundabouts to it.

Light heifers

There was some good news with the 400-499kg bullock seeing an average price rise of 1c/kg while the bottom quarter bucked the downward trend by gaining 5c/kg or from €20-25/hd.

The good news in the heifer section was more limited with only the lighter 350-399kg animal holding its price at last week’s levels courtesy better number in the top quarter and a 3c/kg increase in her price which cancelled out the fall of 4c/kg in the bottom quarter.

Returning to Willie Troy’s “in between” 550-600kg bullocks Willie Troy I can’t help thinking that at a price and if age and quality assurance weren’t an issue for a buyer they could look the real deal on grass next spring.

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