Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 29 April 2017

Numbers and prices soar as spring fever grips the marts

See Pictures from a recent sale at Castlerea mart in Roscommon.

Catlerea Mart. Faces at the ring. Photo Brian Farrell
Catlerea Mart. Faces at the ring. Photo Brian Farrell
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

THIS spring’s mart trade has been dominated on the positive side by Turkish contracts, while among the negatives have been the slow rise in factory beef prices and concern about our trading future with the UK.

I can now tell you that last week saw all concerns cast aside as the trade shot into overdrive, like Red Rum on steroids. Firstly numbers jumped at many marts to the point where week on week they doubled in some places, secondly some of the prices paid were truly exceptional.

At Mountrath, heifer weanlings hit €3.70/kg, a price driven not by shippers but by farmers. At Ballinakill both heifers and bullocks in the 400kg bracket regularly hit €3.00/kg.

Catlerea Mart Weight 800k DOB 14/2/14 . 17/3/17. Bull calf. Breed LMX. Price €1590. Photo Brian Farrell.
Catlerea Mart Weight 800k DOB 14/2/14 . 17/3/17. Bull calf. Breed LMX. Price €1590. Photo Brian Farrell.

Moving south, a batch of 15 660kg Aberdeen Angus at Gortatlea in Kerry made €1,560/ hd - I tried doing the maths on them but lost money every time.

Then there was the part-time suckler man, also at Gortatlea, who turned up with 31 weanlings, a combination of barely eight month old continental bulls and heifers and went home with €32,000. Not a bad return.

Catlerea Mart. Weight 240K. DOB 16/2/16. Sex Weanling Bull. Breed LMX. Price €1270. Photo Brian Farrell
Catlerea Mart. Weight 240K. DOB 16/2/16. Sex Weanling Bull. Breed LMX. Price €1270. Photo Brian Farrell

Yes indeed, we have truly arrived at that time of year when anything is possible in the minds of farmers, feeders and factory agents.

While the above are all obviously at the top end of what could be achieved last week, the point is they are just a few examples that illustrate the cattle business for what it is, a money eating machine.

Catlerea Mart. Weight 855K. DOB 19/2/11 17/3/17. Bull calf. Breed LM. Price .Photo Brian Farrell
Catlerea Mart. Weight 855K. DOB 19/2/11 17/3/17. Bull calf. Breed LM. Price .Photo Brian Farrell

The Ringside tables below largely concur with the analysis that the trade last week moved further into positive territory but because Ringside is composed of averages it offers a possibly less dramatic and more balanced overall analysis.

That said ‘spring fever’ sees the favourite bullock for summer grazing, the 400-600kg animal, rise by 4c/kg or €16-20/ hd in the 400-499kg section. Meanwhile, the heavier forward store in the 500-599kg section went up 5c/kg on average last week.

That equates to €25-30/hd. Premium We also saw a premium being paid to those with quality to sell, with 7c/kg or €28-42/hd of an increase in both sections for the top-end bullock.

The 350-499kg heifer also had a good week ringside, with her average price rising by 3-5c/ kg or by €10-25/hd - although it is noticeable that the biggest move in price here was for the poorer animal as she gained from 6-7c/kg which is €21-35/ hd. Above these weights, however, the Ringside averages show the 500-599kg heifer as falling by €5-6/hd.

Catlerea Mart. Weight 760K. DOB 9/2/09 . 20/3/17 Sex wife F calf Breed LM Price . €1800 Photo Brian Farrell
Catlerea Mart. Weight 760K. DOB 9/2/09 . 20/3/17 Sex wife F calf Breed LM Price . €1800 Photo Brian Farrell

North of 600kg mark, heifer prices fell back by 3c/kg or €18/ hd on average. This is not as bad as you might think when you allow even with that €18 wiped off her value she is still 4c/kg or a minimum of €24/hd ahead of where she was two weeks ago.

The figures for the weanling trade continue to show the positive effect of those Turkish contracts, with the 100-299kg bull rising by 6c/kg to an average of €2.46/kg or from €246-735/hd.

Catlerea Mart. Weight 305K. DOB 27/7/16. Sex M. Breed LMX. Price €985. Photo Brian Farrell.
Catlerea Mart. Weight 305K. DOB 27/7/16. Sex M. Breed LMX. Price €985. Photo Brian Farrell.

The top of the market in this section, while falling 2c/kg last week, still sees your Charolais “king of the ring” at an average of €3.45/kg, with both the Belgian blue and Limousin tied for second place on an average of €3.16/kg.

Marts RoundUp

1 MOUNTRATH

The story of Mountrath’s various sales last week was one of strong competition as farmers and shippers squared up on Thursday. Prices for 200-300kg section saw a top of €3.71/kg given for a Belgian Blue heifer, while in the 300-400kg section prices moved from €1.80-3.22/kg. The 400-500kg stock saw a top of €3.20/ kg paid. Glen Cooper made the following observation: “Even if you took the shippers out of it, it would still have been very strong. Farmers were very fit.” This had already been shown on Wednesday when farmer buyers bid a 570kg Charolais into €2.52/kg with heavier 650-750kg bullocks making from €2.00-2.41/kg.

2 ROSCREA

“We had a lot of farmer customers and while the top of the trade wasn’t any dearer, the trade overall was very firm,” said Michael Harty on Roscrea’s Friday sale. Numbers were very strong, and the strongest demand was possibly in the 400-550kg bullock section, with prices for quality hitting €800/hd with the €1/kg. The top price was for a 535kg Limousin at €1,400. The best of the heifer prices came at the lighter end, with five 275kg red Limousin’s making €825 a piece or €3/kg.

Catlerea Mart. Weight 380K. DOB 1/5/16. Sex Bullock. Breed CHX. Price €985. Photo Brian Farrell.
Catlerea Mart. Weight 380K. DOB 1/5/16. Sex Bullock. Breed CHX. Price €985. Photo Brian Farrell.

3 GORTATLEA

Maurice Brosnan also reported “huge numbers” at his two sales in Gortatlea last week. Wednesday’s weanling sale saw a great advert for what the well-organised suckler man can on occasion achieve. Shipper and farmer buyers bid his 30 eightmonth- old continental heifer and bull weanlings into a grand total of €32,000. Friday’s general cattle sale was no less dramatic, with one lot of 15 Aberdeen Angus bullocks (660kgs) making €1,560/ hd. Allow that they are half and half, O grades and Rs, would they make it in the factory?

4 BALLINAKILL

Catlerea Mart.Weight 620K .DOB 28/6/15 . Sex Bull .Breed LMX Price €1270 .Photo Brian Farrell
Catlerea Mart.Weight 620K .DOB 28/6/15 . Sex Bull .Breed LMX Price €1270 .Photo Brian Farrell

The good yard of cattle at Ballinakill last week saw prices head upwards as spring fever took hold to the point where heifers and bullocks around 400kgs were both making €3.00/kg. The general run of prices were as follows: heavy bullocks, €2.00-2.45/kg; forward stores, €2.10-2.70/kg; while beef heifers made €2.05-2.55/kg. Among the lighter stock light continental bullocks and store heifers made from €2.30-3.30/kg, while bull weanling made from €2.20-3.15/kg, with weanling heifers a shade stronger at €2.30-3.35/kg.

5 BALLINROBE

It was the similar story at Ballinrobe where your money could have been spent as follows. You could splash €1,100 or €3.49/kg on a 315kg Limousin heifer and maybe regret it. You see the next lot of Limousins in also make €1,100/hd but are 40kgs heavier at 355kgs which leaves them at €3.13/kg. Undaunted, you head for the bullocks where €3.00/kg brings you a 335kg Aberdeen Angus , next you bag a 455kg Limousin at €2.71/kg and finish off the day with two 605kg Aberdeen Angus for €2.31/ kg.

Catlerea Mart. Weight 425K. DOB 5/4/16. Sex M. Breed CHX. Price €1045. Photo Brian Farrell.
Catlerea Mart. Weight 425K. DOB 5/4/16. Sex M. Breed CHX. Price €1045. Photo Brian Farrell.

6 ENNIS

Trade at Ennis on Thursday was described as “exceptional from start to finish”. It was a big sale with heavy cattle over 600kgs in greatest demand at prices from €2.24-2.72/kg or a week-on-week rise of €30/hd. Trade for the nice continental store bullock saw €3.00/kg achieved and a shake more on occasion - two 410kg Limousins at €3.11 for example. However, the general run of bullocks from 550- 650/kg was in the €2.60/kg region. The 550kg heifer was no slouch either making from €2.25-2.88/kg, while the best of the continental cull cows made from €2.00- 2.39/kg. Friesian sold up to €1.74/kg.

 

Online Editors