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Tuesday 17 July 2018

GALLERY: Reality bites as price gains reversed in bullock trade (trade back €60-80/head)

Pictures and Prices from Ballinasloe Mart

21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway
Ballinasloe The Thinking Man's Mart.
Photo Brian Farrell
21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway Ballinasloe The Thinking Man's Mart. Photo Brian Farrell
21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway Lot Number 19 Weight 625K DOB 21/2/ 16 . 8/5/16 Breed CH Sex Bullock (2) Price €1590 Photo Brian Farrell
21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway Lot Number 18 Weight 685K DOB 10/3/16 Breed LM Sex Bullock Price €1640 Photo Brian Farrell
21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway Lot Number 106B Weight 536K DOB 10/5/16 Breed CH Sex Heifer Price €1335 Photo Brian Farrell
21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway Lot Number 106E Weight 500K DOB 9/4/16 Breed CH Sex Heifer Price €1170 Photo Brian Farrell
21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway Lot Number 104 Weight 565K DOB 26/2/16 Breed LM Sex Heifer Price €1260 Photo Brian Farrell
21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway Lot Number 21 Weight 557K (avg) DOB 13/5/16 . 15/5/16 Breed LM Sex Bullock (2) Price €1430 Photo Brian Farrell
21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway Lot Number 104H Weight 515K DOB 21/4/16 Breed LM Sex Heifer Price €1205 Photo Brian Farrell
21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway Lot Number 9B Weight 785K DOB 7/4/16 Breed CH Sex Bullock Price €1600 Photo Brian Farrell
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

The traditional trade at this time of year is driven by buyers who, having gauged early grass growth, set about buying stock in advance based on the results.

While the trade has improved over the last few weeks, that improvement does not have a lot to do with the traditional "spring fever" when you could see farmers knocking lumps out of one another with their cheque books in their quest to buy cattle.

Instead, this spring we are seeing a trade being driven by the needs of contract feeders and feedlots.

But even among these buyers, reality seemed to bite last week and after the price jumps of €100 plus per head two weeks ago, last week brought the trade back to earth with a bang.

21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway
Lot Number 21
Weight 557K (avg)
DOB 13/5/16 . 15/5/16
Breed LM
Sex Bullock (2)
Price €1430
Photo Brian Farrell
21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway Lot Number 21 Weight 557K (avg) DOB 13/5/16 . 15/5/16 Breed LM Sex Bullock (2) Price €1430 Photo Brian Farrell

The ringside table shows prices slipping back by between €60-80/hd on the bullock table, while on the heifer table prices slipped on average by €25-108/hd.

No section was immune on either table, although the fall of between €30-40/hd in the 400-599kg section on the heifer table was less than half what it was on the bullock table.

On the bullock table that medium to forward store fell back on average 13-16c/kg or from €52-96/hd.

The fall incurred in these sections had a knock-on effect across the remainder of the bullock and heifer categories.

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Stock over 600kg on the heifer side were worst affected as their price slipped 18c/kg or €108/hd .

Bullocks over the 600kg mark were back 10c/kg or €60/hd.

Leaving the figures aside, what other factors apart from poor ground conditions and concerns over fodder are playing in the background?

A lot of the stock coming to the market in the spring are of the more traditional variety - Friesians, Angus and Herefords.

21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway
Lot Number 104H
Weight 515K
DOB 21/4/16
Breed LM
Sex Heifer
Price €1205
Photo Brian Farrell
21/3/2018 Ballinasloe Mart, Co Galway Lot Number 104H Weight 515K DOB 21/4/16 Breed LM Sex Heifer Price €1205 Photo Brian Farrell

However, with dairy farmers now constantly crossing and re-crossing these breeds with Holstein and Jerseys, the potential and conformation quality of the progeny in many cases has become suspect.

This is not a good thing at a time when there are a lot of other factors influencing market sentiment.

In the short term, if ground conditions were good enough by the first of April would you have a sustainable supply of grass?

If not, you could possibly overcome this shortage by eating into your silage ground.

With that done the next issue is silage.

We are all looking at the main crop this year being pushed back possibly into mid to late June because of low soil temperatures.

The point is while many sales were well attended last week, a majority were there as observers.

Potential buyers and sellers were carefully watching and gauging the market while weighing up the longer term possibilities.

Should the weather not improve soon, you could see those with cattle to sell and silage pits empty choosing to move their stock regardless of market considerations.

It is to be hoped that the weather will improve before this all or nothing option becomes the only option.

Mind you, if we get two or three sunny days together, all these concerns could well be forgotten.


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