More gloom as cattle prices continue to plummet

See what cattle made in marts around the country

Granard Mart Weight 530Kg DOB 13/3/17
Breed CHX Bullock Price €1130
Photo Brian Farrell
Granard Mart Weight 530Kg DOB 13/3/17 Breed CHX Bullock Price €1130 Photo Brian Farrell
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

The mart trade seemed to be free-wheeling downhill last week, and things have got worse, with weanling bulls and heifers mostly shedding money at a really alarming rate.

The only thing that is helping is the fact that numbers coming out are largely small as both buyers and sellers size up everything from poor factory prices to Brexit.

A few weeks ago, with grass growing well and many farmers choosing to beef up their numbers to graze those surplus supplies, the trade looked somewhat positive; that is no longer is the case.

And the Mercosur deal will only exacerbate the situation, forcing prices further downwards.

While it is incumbent on farm leaders and politicians to point out the difficulties that may lie ahead, it looks like we are some years away from any major amount of this beef actually arriving in Europe. The most immediate problem Ireland Inc faces continues to be Brexit.

For the moment, in marts across Ireland, prices are falling in line with factory returns.

Bullocks are being quoted at €3.65 and heifers at €3.75/kg, with under-22-month bulls at €3.75/kg for Us and Rs €3.65/kg, assuming you can get them killed.

The bullock trade was least affected last week by the uncertainty as buyers possibly decided that at current averages, how bad can things get?

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Limousin Hfr. Weight 620Kg. Age 29 Months Old. Made €1310. Photo Roger Jones.
Limousin Hfr. Weight 620Kg. Age 29 Months Old. Made €1310. Photo Roger Jones.

That said your 300-399kg bullock slipped a further 6c/kg to €1.90/kg, while the 400-499kg steer stayed steady at €1.92/kg.

The 500-599kg bullock slipped just 1c/kg to €1.88/kg, as a fall of 4c/kg to €1.52/kg in the price of the lesser conformation animal was largely negated by a 4c/kg increase to €2.27/kg in the price of the better-made bullock at this weight.

Overall, average prices in the 600kg+ section fell 2c/kg to €1.88/kg, with the poorer bullock largely responsible as he eased 3c/kg to €1.59kg.

The fall in prices picked up speed among the heifers, however, with overall averages back by 4-9c/kg, with the 600kg+ heifer coming off the worst.

Both the 350-399kg and 500-599kg heifer averaged 4c/kg less, at €2.03 and €1.97/kg respectively. The 400-499kg heifer ended the week 6c/kg less at €2.03/kg.

Granted, that €20/hd one way or another in an individual sale is not a lot, but when it spans out over the entire country it adds up.

Prices in the weanling trade bear the hallmarks of a trade in turmoil. Bulls averaged from 11c/kg less in the 300-399kg division to 16c/kg lower in the 400-600kg section, with the 100-299kg bull back 13c/kg.

The weanling heifer saw average prices fall by 6-33c/kg across the various weight divisions and quality sub-classes between 100-399kg.

The 400-600kg weanling heifer fared better, unchanged at €2.07/kg.

Balla

300-400kg bullocks averaged €2.04/kg, while at the top end €2.67/kg saw a 390kg Charolais X change hands. In the 400-500kg section prices averaged €2.17/kg, with a 450kg Limousin hitting the top price of €1,350 or €3.00/kg. 500kg+ bullocks found the going tougher and averaged just €2.06/kg. In the heifer ring those under 400kg sold to an average of €2.29/kg, with the 400-500kg animal averaging €2.17/kg. Average prices above 500kg worked out at €2.01/kg. The small show of weanling bulls saw prices in the 350-450 category average €2.49/kg.

2. Kanturk

Sample prices from the calf ring included two Angus bulls at €325/hd, two Friesians at €250/hd and three Simmental bulls at €340/hd. The dry cow market continues to be difficult, with a 760kg Friesian seeing the hammer at €1.31/kg, while a 665kg Friesian was a shade better at €1.33/kg. On the heifer side you had four 545kg Limousins making €2.12/kg, while four 745kg Limousin bullocks clicked €2.24/kg; two 595kg Friesians saw new grass at €1.76/kg.

3. Ballinrobe

Sample prices here among the bullocks saw a €410kg Limousin hit €1,090 or €2.47/kg, with two 580kg Angus making €1,005/hd or €1.73/kg, while a 330kg Charolais X sold at €930 for €2.21/kg. Moving to the heifers, a 660kg Limousin at €2.47/kg was among the best prices grossing €1,635 ahead of mart and haulage costs. In the lighter section two 345kg Limousins clicked €950/hd or €2.45/kg, while at €930/hd or €2.11/kg a 445kg Salers X headed to pastures new. Best of the bull weanlings was a 365kg Limousin at €2.55/kg, or €930.

4. Ballinakill

A small sale but a good trade for the better bullock and heifer was the story here, with both forward and light stores in demand. Forward store bullocks sold from €2.10-2.55/kg, with lighter stores making €2.20-3.10/kg. Store heifers also cracked on well, selling for €2.10-2.60/kg. Heavy bullocks made €1.85-2.40/kg, with beef heifers selling for €1.95-2.35/kg. Weanling bulls sold for €2.15-3.10/kg, with weanling heifers making €2.20-3.15/kg. The cull cow was under pressure, with prices ranging from €1.00-1.60/kg.

 

5. Headford

Bullock prices ranged from €1.20-2.40/kg, with the highest price of the day seeing an 580kg Limousin clicking €1,330 or €2.29/kg. On the heifer side the top price was €1,230 or €2.20/kg as paid for a 560kg Limousin, with prices overall averaging €1.85-2.54/kg. The weanling trade saw bulls sell from €2.07-2.58/kg, while weanling heifers made €1.69-2.57/kg. Individual best prices were on the bull side: a 390kg Charolais made €940 or €2.41/kg; among the heifers top honours went to a 350kg Charolais at €900 or €2.57/kg.

 

6. Dowra

Prices were easier here as buyers adjusted their thinking in the light of factory price pressures. Patsy Smith reported the better animal as suffering the least. Weanling heifers under 400kg made €1.60-2.70/kg, with the 400-500kg heifer making €1.70-2.55/kg. Heavier heifers sold for €1.80-2.40/kg. Weanling bulls under 400kg made €1.50-2.70/kg, with heavier bulls making €1.60-2.25/kg. On the bullock side prices for stores under 500kg averaged €1.60-2.55/kg, while cull cows over 600kgs made €1.20-1.90/kg.

 

7. Castleisland

Considering the time of year there was a very good turnout here last Wednesday, with demand for feeding cows seeing prices range from €1.00-1.20/kg on weights around the 500-540kg mark. Heavier cows up to 760kg sold to a top of €1.22/kg. Weanling bulls made €2.16-2.76/kg. Early reports from yesterday’s calf sale indicated strong numbers, with prices remaining steady.

Marts

1. Balla

300-400kg bullocks averaged €2.04/kg, while at the top end €2.67/kg saw a 390kg Charolais X change hands. In the 400-500kg section prices averaged €2.17/kg, with a 450kg Limousin hitting the top price of €1,350 or €3.00/kg. 500kg+ bullocks found the going tougher and averaged just €2.06/kg. In the heifer ring those under 400kg sold to an average of €2.29/kg, with the 400-500kg animal averaging €2.17/kg. Average prices above 500kg worked out at €2.01/kg. The small show of weanling bulls saw prices in the 350-450 category average €2.49/kg.

2. Kanturk

Sample prices from the calf ring included two Angus bulls at €325/hd, two Friesians at €250/hd and three Simmental bulls at €340/hd. The dry cow market continues to be difficult, with a 760kg Friesian seeing the hammer at €1.31/kg, while a 665kg Friesian was a shade better at €1.33/kg. On the heifer side you had four 545kg Limousins making €2.12/kg, while four 745kg Limousin bullocks clicked €2.24/kg; two 595kg Friesians saw new grass at €1.76/kg.

3. Ballinrobe

Sample prices here among the bullocks saw a €410kg Limousin hit €1,090 or €2.47/kg, with two 580kg Angus making €1,005/hd or €1.73/kg, while a 330kg Charolais X sold at €930 for €2.21/kg. Moving to the heifers, a 660kg Limousin at €2.47/kg was among the best prices grossing €1,635 ahead of mart and haulage costs. In the lighter section two 345kg Limousins clicked €950/hd or €2.45/kg, while at €930/hd or €2.11/kg a 445kg Salers X headed to pastures new. Best of the bull weanlings was a 365kg Limousin at €2.55/kg, or €930.

4. Ballinakill

A small sale but a good trade for the better bullock and heifer was the story here, with both forward and light stores in demand. Forward store bullocks sold from €2.10-2.55/kg, with lighter stores making €2.20-3.10/kg. Store heifers also cracked on well, selling for €2.10-2.60/kg. Heavy bullocks made €1.85-2.40/kg, with beef heifers selling for €1.95-2.35/kg. Weanling bulls sold for €2.15-3.10/kg, with weanling heifers making €2.20-3.15/kg. The cull cow was under pressure, with prices ranging from €1.00-1.60/kg.

5. Headford

Bullock prices ranged from €1.20-2.40/kg, with the highest price of the day seeing an 580kg Limousin clicking €1,330 or €2.29/kg. On the heifer side the top price was €1,230 or €2.20/kg as paid for a 560kg Limousin, with prices overall averaging €1.85-2.54/kg. The weanling trade saw bulls sell from €2.07-2.58/kg, while weanling heifers made €1.69-2.57/kg. Individual best prices were on the bull side: a 390kg Charolais made €940 or €2.41/kg; among the heifers top honours went to a 350kg Charolais at €900 or €2.57/kg.

6. Dowra

Prices were easier here as buyers adjusted their thinking in the light of factory price pressures. Patsy Smith reported the better animal as suffering the least. Weanling heifers under 400kg made €1.60-2.70/kg, with the 400-500kg heifer making €1.70-2.55/kg. Heavier heifers sold for €1.80-2.40/kg. Weanling bulls under 400kg made €1.50-2.70/kg, with heavier bulls making €1.60-2.25/kg. On the bullock side prices for stores under 500kg averaged €1.60-2.55/kg, while cull cows over 600kgs made €1.20-1.90/kg.

7. Castleisland

Considering the time of year there was a very good turnout here last Wednesday, with demand for feeding cows seeing prices range from €1.00-1.20/kg on weights around the 500-540kg mark. Heavier cows up to 760kg sold to a top of €1.22/kg. Weanling bulls made €2.16-2.76/kg. Early reports from yesterday’s calf sale indicated strong numbers, with prices remaining steady.

Indo Farming


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