At 650, numbers in Kilkenny Mart last Thursday were less than previous weeks. Trade, however, was in general not hurt by the smaller entry with the large selection of heavy bullocks between 600-700kg making from €1.60-2.35/kg, while the 500kg+ forward bullock sold from €1.50-2.55/kg.
Delving deeper into the figures, the mart's George Candler said the bulk of continental bullocks over 560kg averaged a minimum of €2.10/kg. Similarly weighted Angus and Herefords made €1.80-2.10/kg. In the 400-500kg section prices ranged from €1.40-2.35/kg, while those from 300-400kgs sold from €170-3.16/kg.
However, Angus and Hereford types under 310kg were what George called "a more difficult sale". Those lighter types aside, the bullock trade here continued to reflect the current national trend of strong demand and stronger prices with the market for Friesian stock in particular seeing a noticeable improvement. The heifer trade saw beef types sell from €1.90-2.15/kg, with forward types making up to €2.51/kg.
Asked why the trade was so strong while factory prices in real terms remain behind where they were 12 months ago, George believes that "men are reading confidence into the trade particularly where the better animal are concerned".
That confidence currently seems to extend to anything that may offer a short to medium term return. The team in Kilkenny dispatched 110 cull cows in little over at hour at prices from €1.05-1.50/kg for Friesians to €1.95/kg for continentals.