Market for plain weanlings is the 'most depressed in years'
THE most depressing market for plain weanlings for many years has seen Friesian animals selling for well below €1/kg and struggling to make 75c/kg in cases.
A lack of confidence among beef farmers and the widespread shortage of fodder supplies is being blamed for the near collapse of demand for plain stock.
In contrast, however, a firm trade is reported for good quality continental weanlings, on the back of strong farmer buying.
This two-tier trade has resulted in a €300-€400/hd differential emerging between the price of plain cattle and that being paid for stock with U-grade potential.
As the autumn weanling sales edge towards peak numbers, mart managers and auctioneers maintained that light Friesian weanlings were worth more as calves last spring, with some lots struggling to break 75c/kg.
Good British Friesian weanlings generally sold for around €1/kg, while as low as 70c/kg has been paid for Holstein- Friesian weanlings.
However, up to €3.36/kg was paid for the top quality continental bulls last week, with choice continental heifers selling for up to €3.32/kg. Plainer lots slipped to €1.50-€1.70/kg for bulls, and back to around €1.52/kg for some of the continental heifers.
"It's the toughest trade in a long time - there is a complete lack of confidence among farmers," said George Candler of Kilkenny Mart.