The data on the ringside tables this week clearly shows that mart averages continue to fall across all categories as buyers adjust further to factory price pulls that started in early June.
The axe has fallen most heavily, and understandably, at the beef end of the trade, with the overall reduction in the average price of your 600kg+ bullock last week coming in at 13c/kg or €78/hd, while your 600kg+ heifer recorded a fall of 10c/kg or €60/hd.
Since the first week of June, the overall average price of your 600kg bullock and heifer at marts across the country has now fallen by 34 and 35c/kg respectively — that’s €204-€210/hd.
These cuts initially hit the better-made heavy bullock hardest, however by last week, there was little difference between the fall in the price of your better or lesser bullock with their averages at €2.89 and €2.67/kg back 30c and 32c/kg respectively on their prices from four weeks ago.
It is not so among the 600kg heifers, with last week’s fall of 11c/kg among the bottom quarter leaving them on €2.38/kg, 41c/kg below where they were a month ago, while your better heifer at €2.96/kg is back just 31c/kg on where she was a month ago.
Reduced prices at the beef end of the market invariably make their way back down through the various weight categories. However, those reductions were not as severe as might have been expected on the bullock side last week.
Overall average prices for bullocks from 300-599kg fell by only 1c-8c/kg and settled at €2.24-€2.50/kg.
Indeed, the better bullock in the 300-399kg section recovered some recent losses as he rose 7c/kg to average €2.86/kg, while the better bullock from 500-599kg also saw some positive movement, edging up 1c/kg to €2.85/kg.
There was no good news on the heifer side however. Once it became obvious that the price of your 600kg beef heifer was continuing to decline, dropping 10c/kg as already mentioned, this pushed the overall average price of the remaining weight categories on our heifer table back between 7c-11c/kg or €38-€42/hd.
The price fall for those with poorer quality heifers was more severe, especially in the 350-399kg and 400-499kg sections, with reductions of €59-€68/hd and €44-€55/hd respectively.
Cahsel’s Robert de Vere Hunt said: “The want for cattle is still very strong, but numbers may be starting to dry up and that should steady the trade.”
George Candler in Kilkenny agreed: “Factory agents’ suggestion that quotes will drop in the next week or so may weaken confidence but if numbers start to dry up, it may stabilize prices.”
After a long run of strong prices, cull cows showed that they too are not immune to the realities of the marketplace with stores back by between €100- €200/hd last week, while the heavier beef cow eased by €80-€100/hd.
Robert de Vere Hunt reported numbers as being back around a third on his full house from two weeks ago.
The majority of the sale was composed of bullocks with samples seeing four 542kg Friesians average €2.03/kg, seven 417kg Angus average €2.51/kg, four 430kg Herefords made €2.28/kg, while a single 685kg Angus clicked €1,920 or 2.80/kg.
On the heifer side, four at 420kg made €2.36/kg, with a further five at 423kg also averaging €2.36/kg.
De Vere Hunt said: “The want for cattle is still very strong but numbers may be starting to dry up.”
At 200, this was a bigger sale than normal for the time of year. Among the heavier beef, a 670kg Limousin bullock sold for €2.70/kg, with a 620kg Angus making €2.65/kg, while a seven-year-old 1,095kg Limousin bull made €2.50/kg.
On the lighter side, three 558kg Angus averaged €2.45/kg, with three 425kg Limousins making €2.43/kg, while three 335kg Friesians averaged 2.21/kg. Among the heifers, three 556kg Herefords made €2.51/kg, with three 500kg Charolais averaging €2.62/kg, while three 353kg Angus made €2.21/kg. Top prices among the Friesian and Hereford cull cows ranged from €2.10- €2.59/kg.
David Quinn said prices for many types have eased by around 20c-30c/kg over the last two weeks.
Among those back that 20c-30c/kg, Quinn cited your lighter 400kg Friesian bullock, previously selling from €2.10-€2.20/kg, now €1.80-€2.00/kg. Among the heavier bullocks, 600kg Herefords that were averaging €2.70/kg were at €2.50/kg last week.
Also suffering because of limited feed-lot buying was your 500-700kg Angus, now €2.60-€2.70/kg, back from their high of €2.80-€3.00/kg.
Similarly on the heifer side, some of your lighter continentals who previously made €3.00/kg were seeing the hammer at €2.60-€2.70/kg. Then you had four 730kg Friesians at €1,730/hd.
George Candler also noted that with fewer customers around and factory agents talking the trade down, your lighter store bullock and heifer were a tougher trade, especially if they were anyway plainer.
Averages for bullocks over 600kg ranged from €2.20-€3.23/kg, with those from 500-600kg making from €2.12-€3.01/kg. Under 500kg prices averaged from €1.60-€3.10/kg.
On the heifer side, beef sold from €2.40-€3.25/kg, with forward types making from €2.30-€2.95/kg, while lighter heifers made from €1.70-€2.91/kg. Continental cull cows sold from €1.60-€2.92/kg, with Friesians making from €1.00-€2.40/kg.
Trade or suck calves saw Limousin bulls sell to €760/hd, with Angus types making up to €450/hd last week. Sucklers with calves at foot sold to €2,680/unit, while shipper demand on the weanling side helped bulls hit €3.81/kg and €3.68/kg for heifers.
The sale of 700 bullocks, heifers and cull cows met a slightly softer market with store numbers dominating and forward types scarce.
Among the standout prices on the bullock side was a 755kg Charolais at €2.99/kg, three 653kg Limousins at €3.09/kg, with a further two Limousins at 440kg making €3.52/kg. Those with beef heifers were also among the winners with a 700kg Charolais selling to €3.04/kg, while two 630kg Angus averaged €2.84/kg.
David Faulken reported a bigger than normal sale for the day of the year with a very noticeable increase in dry cow numbers at 147.
Faulken said trade was “easier”, rating your plainer 550-560kg continental bullock back anything from €80-€100/hd at €1,450-€1,460/hd, while your better 630-640kg Charolais eased €30-€40/hd at €1,750-€1,780/hd.
Demand for heavy cows saw no real let-up in prices, however, with young 650-700kg cow heifers selling from €2,000-€2,200/hd and heavier 850-900kg offerings topping out at €2,600.
Feeder cows were less however as 600kg animals that previously averaged €1,000 slipped to between €800-€900/hd last week.
Numbers continued big for the time of year, however the trade was a little easier overall. Heavy bullocks sold from €2.30-€3.15/kg, with forward types making from €2.40-€3.30/kg, while your lighter bullock averaged from €2.20-3.40/kg.
Beef heifers made from €2.45-€3.10/kg, with stores averaging from €2.30-€3.30. Trade for cull cows saw the prices slip, with averages ranging from €1.30-€2.25/kg. Weanlings bulls made from €2.20-€3.40/kg, with weanling heifers selling from €2.30-€3.25/kg.