Shippers and farmers battle it out for weanling supplies
Prices rise by up to €100/hd on last year on back of export demand
The weanling trade has opened with a bang over the last fortnight.
Intense competition between shippers and farmers has resulted in buoyant trade for both weanling bulls and heifers.
The best of the continental weanling bulls, E and U grade Belgian Blues, are generally going for the Italian trade, with between €3.50/kg and €3.70/kg being paid.
Farmers are the main buyers for heavy Limousin and Charolais bulls in the 480-550kg weight range, while exporters servicing the Turkish market and farmers are competing strongly for bulls in the 320-430kg weight bracket.
Entries at the marts showed an increase over the past week but are still back on normal levels. Mart managers attributed the lower turnout to strong grass supply on farms after an excellent growing season.
Seamus O'Keeffe of Kanturk Mart in Cork said there was "fierce demand" for the top-quality continental bulls.
"The prices were up by around €100/hd on last year, with the specialist home bull beef producers looking for the heavy weanlings and the exporters competing for the lighter weights," Mr O'Keeffe said.
"The serious bull beef producers are all looking for quality and shape in the animals at the top end of the market and generally going for the Belgian Blues and Limousin.