Marts: Cattle prices steady despite cull cow influx
Last week appears to have been a largely positive week for those with cattle to sell at the marts.
There were reports that numbers were swelled in some places by farmers offloading stock in advance of potential issues with fodder, but in general those with cattle to sell met a fairly positive trade.
The one factor that nearly every mart commented on was the continuing large turnout of cull cows with some marts reporting that a third to half of all animals presented were cows.
While you might think that bigger numbers of dairy discards might affect the prime trade in some fashion, it has to be remembered many of those involved in the cull cow business are specialist fatteners or dealers.
In short, your good bullock or heifer need not worry too much about what these aged ladies make or how her price might affect their trade overall.
It's a different story, of course, when you get down to the factory end of the business.
The bullock table shows some serious upward movements, especially at the lighter end of the scale with the 300-399kg animal up on average 12c/kg or from €36-48/hd.
Several mart mangers emphasised to me over the weekend that they are seeing very significant interest in better suckler-reared stock translate into stronger prices for the better conformation animals.
The ringside figures show that the biggest movers on both the bullock and heifer tables below 600kg were at the top end of the quality stakes.
Top end bullocks in the 300-399kg weight category rose 24c/kg to €2.74/kg which left their prices sitting between €822-1,093/hd.
In the 400-499kg section, bigger numbers of poorer quality cattle saw the bottom quarter average price drop by 4c/kg which led to the overall average price slipping by 1c/kg yet the price of the better bullock again pushed on this time by 7c/kg.
That 7c/kg gain pushed his average to €2.64/kg giving a price spread of €1,056-1,317hd.
It's a similar story in the 500-599kg section with bigger numbers of lesser quality holding the overall average increase to just 5c/kg when the average increase in the price of the better bullock was 10c/kg.
Among the more factory type stock, 600kg+ bullocks' gains were more muted due to apprehension caused by recent factory price pulls with averages across the board only improving by 1-3c/kg.
In the heavy heifer section averages fell 3-10c/kg while overall heifer price averages in the other weight categories edged cautiously upwards by between 1-8c/kg.
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