Pictures and prices from Castlerea Mart
TWO weeks ago the overall ringside average prices across the majority of weight divisions in the various sections from bullocks to heifers to weanlings moved up a gear or two as buyers pushed the price boundaries.
However, last week, a bit like the cold bite that blew in from the east, average prices either froze or in the majority of cases fell. There were of course the welcome exceptions, like the 2c/ kg increase in the top quarter of the 500-599kg bullock section.
This helped the average animal in this section put on a modest 1c/kg or €5-6/hd. That was helped considerably by the fact that the average price of the poorer bullock at this weight remained static at €1.84/kg which translates into an average of €920-1,102/hd.
There was further good news for those lesser quality animals in the 600kg+ section as they recorded the biggest upward swing, 9c/kg or a minimum of €54/hd across the bullock section last week.
Trouble is that particular section fell 11c/kg two weeks ago so he’s still 2c/kg below his price of three weeks ago. As to the bad news both bullocks and heifers averages seemed to fall off the wagon last week.
The 300-339kg bullocks was down 3c/kg or €9-12/hd, the 400-499kg section down 7c/ kg, €28-35/hd and the 600kg+ bullock back by 3c/kg €18/hd. And that is not the half of it, with the exception of the afore mentioned 400-499kg heifer, the best that can be said is looking at the overall averages the heifer did not have a good week.
In actual fact the poorer quality heavy heifer had a bad week, with the lesser animal in the 600kg+ section falling a massive 27c/kg or €162/hd. The next worst performer is the bottom quarter of the 500- 599kg section which fell 10c/kg on average.
The only good news to come out of the figures in both these sections is that the actual numbers of animals in these poorer categories was not overly large. This meant they only pulled the overall average of the 500-599kg heifer back by 3c/kg to €2.20/kg thus leaving last week’s average price range still respectable at €1,100-1,318/hd.
The question of course is what has gone wrong? How come you ask that mart prices for those animals closest to the knife are seen to be going backwards? In short I don’t have a simple answer except to say that as the year goes on many grass buyers get full up.
It’s a simple thing but that simple fact can make it a little easier for those men who want to buy an animal for a more short term intensive feeding regime to squeeze prices.
The clout that the grass finisher has over his more intensive finishing cousin at the mart ringside is in reduced over heads. Grass is a lot cheaper than meal and or feed.
That simple fact is the reason spring prices can at times appear to get out of hand, that green stuff that grows between the ditches