Shippers gear up for live cattle trade rebound
Pictures and prices from Special Sale in Elphin Mart
The export trade is starting to pick up with shippers again showing interest in bull weanlings under 10 months up to 350kg says Glen Cooper of Mountrath Mart.
Nelius McAuliffe of Dingle Mart has also noted increased shipper activity. Turkey, Holland and Spain are rumoured to be among the possible final destinations for 270-280kg weanling heifers currently being sourced by some of his shipper clients.
All of the above brought a tinge of good news to the mart front last week where weather and ground considerations played a key role in setting the tone for those whose business is summer grazing.
While there was a bounce in prices among the bullocks a fortnight ago, last week saw this price dampen as the weather once again played a role.
The story on the heifer side was more positive with modest average increases of 1-2c/kg recorded between 400-599kg, while the 600kg+ heifer improved by a tidy 7c/kg which is €42/hd on average. The lighter 350-399kg heifer however, didn't fare so well falling back by 7c/kg or from €24-28/hd.
While the heifer price has moved up and down with regularity it has done so within fairly tight bands.
For example your 400-499kg heifer averaged €2.27/kg the week ending March 3 and last week she also averaged €2.27/kg. That same week in March the 500-599kg heifer averaged €2.19/kg, while last week that figure was only 5c/kg better at €2.24/kg.
The price of your 600kg heifer is faring considerably better. Last week it averaged at €2.30/kg compared to €2.06/kg eight weeks ago, which is a €144/hd improvement. This improvement is logical given that factory prices over the same period have improved by up to 20c/kg.
At the other end of the weight spectrum the 350-399kg light heifer is not having the best time of it. Last week her average price of €2.23/kg was 27kg below the €2.50/kg paid in late February/early March.
Turning to the bullock trade, prices last week eased back on average by between 2-4c/kg. The Ringside table for last week shows that on average your 300-399kg animal, at €2.16/kg is only 6c/kg better off than he was two months ago.
The 400-499kg bullock is unchanged from two months ago at €2.20/kg, while the 500-599kg animal is 7c/kg better off at €2.19/kg. I doubt that additional €35-42/hd even paid for his feed.
The 600kg+ bullock is actually 1c/kg on average worse off at €2.14/kg than he was two months ago. The Ringside table for last week shows that on average your 300-399kg animal, at €2.16/kg is only 6c/kg better off than he was two months ago.
The 400-499kg bullock is unchanged from two months ago at €2.20/kg, while the 500-599kg animal is 7c/kg better off at €2.19/kg.
I doubt that additional €35-42/hd even paid for his feed. The 600kg+ bullock is actually 1c/kg on average worse off at €2.14/kg than he was two months ago.
Noel Corcoran reported that cattle prices were up by €40-50/hd as this very big sale saw the spring trade finally take off in east Cork. Sample prices include €2.05-2.13/kg given for a 470-560kg Aberdeen Angus with €2.30/kg clicked by a 450kg Charolais.The big turnout of calves saw Friesian bulls suitable for shipping make from €130-480/hd. Other breeds included Hereford bulls that sold from €300-350/hd, while suitable Angus and Hereford Heifers sold from €250-300/hd.
While some at the counter complained that “bullocks over 450kg were a rob” they nonetheless signed the cheques that confirmed the 400-500kg bullock was averaging at €2.40/kg. At the top of the market was an April 2016 born 495kg Charolais X who made €2.89/kg. Heifers in the same weight bracket sold at an average of €2.43/kg while a 560kg Limousin made €2.83/kg. Moving to the dry cows, the excellent run of prices continued with a 10-year-old 990kg Charolais topping the pops at €2.23/kg.
Nelius McAulliffe rated proceedings here “remarkably good considering the weather”. Neils reported the general run in yearling Hereford and Angus heifers as making from €2.00-2.20/kg as farmer buyers with an eye to possibly supplying feedlots later in the year hoovered up.
Ronan O’Connor noted that the better bullock was a flyer especially once you went above 500kg. However, the plainer bullock under that 500kg cut-off point was in trouble as €1.40-1.50/kg was the value the market put on the trickier Friesian. Against that, if those same Friesians happened to be over 500kg and of better conformation, €1.90-2.00/kg was the price of them. While the shorter keep animal is attractive, Ronan pointed out that “it takes €50 to change a bullock”.
The good quality animal sold well at the Carlow mart whereas that lesser bullock mentioned above also found the going tough here. Friesian type forward bullocks sold from €1.75/kg with Hereford and Angus types making from €1.90-2.10/kg. Among the lighter stores Angus and Herefords made from €1.80-2.20/kg, while your light continental made from €2.20-2.75/kg. Beef and forward heifers sold from €1.95-2.25/kg, while your plainer store heifer was easier by €10-15/hd. The general run of store prices however was from €2.20-2.60/kg with the tops making €2.80/kg.
This evening sale saw a good turnout of stock and a trade to match. In the bull weanling section 345-400kg Charolais sold from €2.37-2.58/kg. Among the weanling heifers was a 255kg Limousin who made €2.39/kg, while €2.86/kg was where the hammer fell on a 210kg Belgian Blue. Trade for cull cows saw a 745kg Charolais hit the top price of €1.96/kg.
There is an attraction in buying bigger numbers together when you’re at a mart. That is once your satisfied they are all good enough. Take those ten Herefords; 535kgs at €2.20/kg add them to the six 520kg Charolais you got for €2.44/kg earlier, that’s 16 bullocks. Throw in those three lighter 435kg Aberdeen Angus at €2.22/kg and that’s the lorry full.
After that it’s time for a relaxing cup of tea in the canteen and a read of the Farming Independent — job done.
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