Push for stock sees quality bullocks jump €100-€150/hd
QUESTION marks are being raised over whether 'panic buying' is causing a ringside surge.
Kilkenny auctioneer George Candler is asking whether the current prices for stock are justified, or are we seeing a repeat of the rush for an elusive loaf of bread witnessed during the recent storm?
One agent I spoke to in the west said that there appeared to be a certain amount of panic in relation to what numbers may be available.
In short, last week if the roads permitted and you had good stock to sell, you were in clover.
The ringside tables show massive price jumps right across the bullock table and for the forward and factory heifer.
Average prices in the 400-499kg bullock section jumped 25c/kg last week, or from €100-125/hd, while the same c/kg increase in the 500-599kg division brought overall average prices up by €125-150/hd.
As has often happened before, and is commented on in several of the mini mart reports, the better quality animal was the main price driver.
When you buy top quality stock even at inflated prices, you have the consolation of knowing that conformation wise, you could have done no more.
It was a similar case among the 600kg+ bullocks, with the better animal pushing on by 21c/kg or €126/hd, which helped push up their overall average by 12c/kg or €72/hd.
The price of the so-called 'poorer' animal, which comprises the bottom quarter of our various weight divisions was also well up in most of the bullock and heifer sections.
The one exception was the 600kg+ section where the increase in the value of the bottom quarter animal scratched along at a bare 3c/kg or €18/hd as opposed to the €126/hd mentioned above for the better animal.
The poorer conformation 600kg+ bullock aside, increases in those poorer types ranged from 12c/kg in the 400-499kg section to 17c/kg in the 500-599kg division. That's a price lift of €48-102/hd.
Moving to the heifers, last week's price lift divided their table with upward movement coming into effect only when you went past the 500kg mark.
Prices below this weight on the ringside table were inclined to be a bit all over the place, up among the poorer quality animals yet appearing to be under significant pressure once you went for a better animal.
This will likely work itself out with a full schedule of marts this week. While it did appear that the cattle may have run out before the money did at certain sales last week, there is still a long way to go.
If the shed men get their needs satisfied now, the market may have settled by the time those with grass to graze come to take their place ringside.
Over the next few months, it will be interesting to see if supplies match demand and whether the later spring affects the trade.
Evening sales in recent times have once again become popular as those with money to invest from off-farm incomes tie up some of their surplus cash in the cattle business. Mountbellew is one such mart. Strong demand saw 315kg Aberdeen Angus bullocks make up to €2.25/kg, while a couple of 535kg black whiteheads clicked €2.11/kg. If you fancied your chances in the weanling ring, bulls made from €500-700/ hd with the €/kg. Among the cull cows was a 860kg Charolais who made €1,460 — maybe a little undervalued?
After the recent snows, pent up numbers last week met pent up demand in many sales yards. A strong trade here saw bullocks average from €2.57-3.22/ kg. Among the more choice lots were four 453kg Charolais bullocks who made €3.09/ kg, while a 570kg single clicked €3.10/ kg as buyers pushed values for better conformation stock upwards. In the heifer ring, prices ranged from €2.32-2.85/kg, while the cull cow trade saw prices range from €1.83-2.28/kg.
With the recent blizzard conditions associated with Storm Emma gradually fading, trade here took on a more spring flavour. Prices in general for store and beef bullocks were improved by €30-40/hd with better quality lots seeing up to a €70/ hd lift. Depending on the quality and the buyers preference, Hereford, Angus and Friesian were all bid into €2.00/kg upwards off a general base of €1.80/kg. Continentals made from €2.20-2.80/kg with one lot of three 437kg Charolais making €2.72/kg. The weanling trade saw the majority sell from €2.60-2.95/kg with the tops making €3.10/kg.
For those in the dairy sector with an eye to possibly expanding their herd, the prices here gave a good indicator of the cost of any proposed expansion. Freshly calved heifers sold from €1,250-1,950/hd, with freshly calved cows making from €900-1,450/hd. In calf heifers made from €1,050-1,540/ hd, while Friesian heifer calves sold from €150-300/hd.
George Candler rightly described trade here as a “flyer” with the top of the continental bullock market seeing prices range from €2.70-3.20/kg while the more basic model sold from €2.25-2.60/kg. The heifer trade was no less buoyant with heavy heifers selling from €2.05-2.65/kg while among the store heifers, prices ran from €1.90-3.06/kg. In the cull cow section, Friesians sold from €1.07-2.03/kg with continentals making from €1.30-2.15/kg. George asked: “Is scarcity at the moment causing some panic buying or are these prices justified?”
Trade here too was brisk, with a 505kg Simmental bullock setting the bar at €2.40/kg among the forward types with many heading into the €2.25-2.35/kg area. Moving to the lighter stores, the price bar here was set by another Simmental, this time at €2.86/kg, while prices for the general run of better bullock at this weight settled between € 2.52-2.65/kg.
Trade was €20-50/hd stronger here than previously as feedlot buyers injected extra fizz into proceedings. Bullocks from 300-400kg sold to an average of €2.60/ kg with a 395kg April 2017-born Limousin making €3.10/kg. In the 400-500kg section, bullock prices averaged €2.53/ kg with a 465kg Charolais hitting €3.01/ kg. Above 500kg, prices averaged €2.34/ kg. The heifer trade was also buoyant with those under 400kg averaging €2.56/kg to a top of €3.39/kg. The 400-500kg heifers averaged €2.36/kg, with €2.97/kg the top of the market.
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