Weanling prices back by €100-150/hd on 2018

Weanling prices are down. File Photo
Weanling prices are down. File Photo
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Weanling prices are between €100-150/hd lower than last year on the back of the continuing downturn in the beef sector, Patsy Smith of Dowra Mart has claimed.

Mr Smith's assessment followed a major sale at the Co Cavan mart last weekend.

Bull weanlings in the 300-400kg range averaged €2.26/kg and sold to a top of €2.76/kg, while bulls in the 400-500kg division made an average of €2.12/kg, and heavy bulls averaged €2.06/kg. Heifers generally made €2-2.10/kg, with a top price of €2.46/kg being paid.

Although weanling prices in the marts were up this week, Mr Smith said the trade this year is far weaker than 2018.

Meanwhile, €2.25/kg was paid last week for light continental weanling bulls for export to Turkey, while €2/kg was given for heavier bulls for finishing.

The consignments of weanlings for export were put together by Iveragh Mart in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, where they were weighed.

Iveragh Mart manager, Mike Kissane, said the bulls were not U grades but the "second run" of stock, or good R grades.

Mr Kissane said the weanlings for export had to be under 11 months and between 300kgs and 370kgs. He said they averaged 330kgs.

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Most of the animals were Limousin and Charolais, with a few Limousin-Angus crosses.

Mr Kissane said the weanlings bought for finishing were generally in the 400-420kg weight range. They were mainly R grade cattle.

Iveragh Mart hold their first weanling sale of the season today, but Mr Kissane admitted to being "fearful and nervous" ahead of the sale. He said it was difficult to be optimistic given the current problems in the beef sector, and in the suckler trade in particular.

"I am generally positive and hopeful but the suckler sector is facing a perfect storm between Brexit, Mercosur and climate change," Mr Kissane pointed out.

"If the suckler cow goes, then the marts and co-ops or merchants will follow, along with vets and other local businesses," he warned.

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