The majority of marts have swung back into action, with numbers surprisingly strong in some areas of the country for the time of year.
Other sales yards reported they were dealing with an increased stream of enquiries rather than instantly bigger numbers.
Those with numbers to sell felt that while prices largely mirrored pre-Christmas levels, the better quality store and forward store bullock has pushed on.
The story among the heifers is better again with prices moving up strongly in some places.
Among those improved performers on the steer side was the top quarter of the 400-499kg section which moved up 8c/kg to average €2.36/kg or, in round figures, from €944-1,178/hd.
Driving this price increase is the value being put on the better continental animal verses his plainer Friesian or Angus counterpart.
The difference between the breeds at the top end of the quality market on the ringside table for last week in the 400-499kg section sees the better Friesian back from the continental price by 72c/kg or from €288-359/hd.
The better Angus/Hereford bullock was 43c/kg less than the continental.
As the year goes on, you will often see men with reputations for buying only better continentals slip in an occasional bid on a batch of so-called lesser cattle as the reality dawns that they might need to spread their money. There are men who specialise in the Friesian bullock, but as I say, you do on occasion see other buyers mix it up a bit.
The reason is they realise that if they are to bridge the numbers gap to get to where they want to be, they have no choice but to buy some of these so-called lesser cattle as the overdraft begins to run thin.
The big movers last week were on the heifer table where, overall, the value of your 350-399kg heifer rose by 22c/kg or from €77-89/hd.
In the 400-499kg section, overall values rose by 13c/kg with the better heifer at this weight returning a very nice touch for her seller at €2.45/kg or from €980-1,222/hd, up 20c/kg on her pre-Christmas ringside price.
The improvement is not as dramatic in the 500-599kg section with overall averages up just 8c/kg and the better heifer up 9c/kg.
However, that still leaves round figures in both sections looking very healthy at values from €1,115-1,336/hd overall to €1,245-1,491/hd for that better animal.
In short, the marts last week reported a very positive start to the year.
One of the big drivers of the mart trade for the month of January has to be that in maintaining the huge factory kills seen in November and December, there now have to be buyers out there who need big numbers of replacements.
2018 got off to a flying start here with manager Barney O’Connell saying: “I’m very happy with how our first sale of the new year went. We had a lot of cull cows and they were a great trade.” Indeed they were, with Barney’s sales sheets showing nothing selling for less than €100/hd with the weight. Top price of the day went to a 725kg Friesian who sold for €1,125/ hd. While bullocks were small in number, Hereford and Angus typically sold from €2.00-2.08/kg. The trade for calves was also buoyant with three tofour-week-old Friesians selling from €95-140/hd.
The story here was also one of an excellent start to 2018. Again the cull cows were out in big numbers and again, like at Listowel, prices were very buoyant with Friesian culls making up to €1.90/kg, while continentals pushed on to €2.30/kg. George Candler reckoned that prices for stock in general were similar to before Christmas, though in cases they did push on. Your 600kg+ bullock sold from €1.80-2.45/ kg, while the 500-600kg forward store made from €1.70-2.53/kg. Prices in the 400-500kg bullock section ranged from €1.60-2.50/kg with lighter lots making up to €2.35/kg. In the heifer ring, beef heifers sold from €2.00-2.46/kg.
Sales here also mirrored pre-Christmas prices as the trade continued strong. Bullocks averaged from €2.15/kg to a top of 2.40/kg. That top spot was taken by a 475kg Charolais who sold for €1,140. Although factory prices may be coming under pressure, the €2.12/kg or €1,450 given for a 685kg Aberdeen Angus proves that the factory boys can still give it when they have to. Heifer prices averaged €2.08/ kg with a top price per kg of €2.54 paid for a 315kg Aberdeen Angus with another 335kg Angus heifer claiming second spot at €2.40/kg. Cull cows sold from €625-1,125/ hd.
This was another sales yard with bigger than expected numbers for the day of the year with the cull cow again adding considerably to this. Starting with those culls, the top price of the day went to a 980kg Charolais who clicked €2,040 or €2.08kg, while best price per kg went to a 660kg Limousin who made €2.26/ kg. Continentals aside, the Friesian cow also had a good day out with 770kg doing a very creditable €1.65/kg with a quality 580kg black and white, possibly going for further feeding, making €1.52/kg. Among the bullocks, trade was strong for forward stock with a lot of the better quality heavier lots making over €2.30/kg with a 675kg Limousin hitting the top spot at €2.44/kg
Another positive start with lighter bullocks and heifers in particular much in demand resulting in their prices pushing on by €30-40/hd. Among those lighter animals were batches of 405kg Limousin bullocks who sold for €950/hd and 375kg Limousin heifers who made €880/hd. Prices for heavier heifers were also very good with one 600kg Charolais topping the charts at €1,670 or €2.78/kg followed very closely by a 578kg Limousin at €2.75/kg.
Prices here were also reported as very good with statistics showing that overall they were up €30/hd on the same week last year. Lighter stores under 400kg averaged €2.19/kg. Bullocks from 400-500kg saw a 495kg March 2016-born Limousin make €2.60/kg, which helped the overall average in the division to settle at €2.26/kg. In the factory section, a 730kg April 2015-born Charolais hit top spot making €2.35/kg. As elsewhere, both heifers and cull cows were a fine trade with one 775kg Limousin cull making €1.72/kg, while top price among the heifers went to a June 2017-born 305kg Blonde d’Aquitaine cross who clicked €3.28/kg.
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