Weather lifts mood and prices at marts
Marts reported a €20/hd increase in the price of plain cattle last week as sunshine and high temperatures made a welcome return after more than 12 months of cold and rain.
The improvement in the weather boosted trade for all cattle, with more customers at the ringside but, crucially, also lifted the price of plain stores.
Ennis Mart manager Martin McNamara said farmers' spirits had lifted in the sunshine and described the atmosphere at Thursday's sale as slightly more positive. "Prices increased by €20/hd across all categories of stock," he said. "But plain cattle are still harder to sell."
Prices for forward cattle of 650kg or more were in the range €2.20-2.40/kg, while lighter cattle of 500kg sold for €2.40-2.70/kg. Two-year-old bullocks weighing 400kg sold for €2-2.20/kg, but well fleshed younger bullocks of 14-15 months old sold for €2.50/kg.
Mr McNamara added that the surge in cull cow numbers continued last week.
Some 700 suckler and dairy cull cows have been sold in the last three sales. The mart manager maintained that, while demand was in line with the weather, many traditional summer buyers of cattle were not buying as many animals.
"I would say those buyers are down 30pc on what they would usually buy," he said.
In Castlerea on Thursday, prices for quality bullocks and weanling bulls rose by €20/hd on the previous week.