Mart trade: Stagnation once again as heavy stock prove hard to shift
It was a case of stagnation once again on beef prices at the mart last week.
The Ringside averages on the bullock table show that positive movement stopped once you went above 600kgs. Below this, any improvements were small.
The greatest average increase in price was just 3c/kg and was recorded among the lighter 300-399kg division as buyers continue to reappraise the cost of keeping these lighter animals given that the winter is already six to eight weeks later arriving in some areas than it was in 2017.
Eric Driver of Tullow Mart in Carlow commented on the trade for those lighter cattle saying that they "are getting better" partly, he believes, because "men are now less stressed because they got the (70pc) Single Farm Payment" - plus, he says, "the good weather has helped".
There were also a few other factors that mart managers reckon are effecting the trade. The first is to do with numbers.
"Many farmers have now almost filled their quota for buying cattle this year so if numbers remain big, prices may start coming under pressure," says George Candler of Kilkenny Mart.
The second also takes a trained eye and experience to spot. "Lads are accepting the trade," says John O'Hanlon of Ballymahon Mart in Longford. He explained that once the bidding stops those selling are inclined to accept that the mark their cattle have achieved is where the market is at and leave the sale go through.
All of this helps explain why movement on the bullock table, below the 600kg mark, was confined to the minimum 1c/kg increase in overall average prices in both the 400-499kg and 500-599kg sections, with the 300-399kg section as already mentioned rising by just 3c/kg or €9-12/hd.