It raises the uncomfortable question of what the powers that be in the beef industry might do to offset the consequences of any further deterioration in the conformation and size of stock coming on to the market from that quarter.
Nearly half the 800 cattle on offer here were cull cows. While it underlines the absolute efficiency that is the hallmark of those in the dairy sector strong prices also underline the cull cow's importance as a source of primarily manufacturing beef. Prices for dairy beef saw up to €1.44/kg paid for heavy Friesian cows with the more storish type Friesian making from €1.30-1.56/kg. The better conformation cull cow hit €2.02/kg as in the case of a 650kg Charolais, while a 755kg Limousin saw the hammer at €2.04. Trade for bullocks and heifers was strong, particularly for the better types.
Prices for bullocks averaged €2.20/kg with a batch of 355kg Charolais animals ringing the bell for top price at €2.66/kg. The average price in the weanling ring was €2.16/kg with a 345kg Limousin achieving the top price of €2.67/kg. Round prices for cull cows went from 535/hd to €1,260/hd.
George Candler described his trade for bullocks as "sharper", with the forward continental, who was not overly plentiful, hitting a top call of €2.71/kg, while heavier 600kg+ bullocks sold from €1.70-2.30/kg. The better Friesian bullock met an improved trade with his prices ranging from €1.70-1.95/kg. A good showing of cull cows saw Friesian types sell from .80c/kg to €1.70/kg, while continental cows made from €1.30-2.29/kg.
The large entry of heifers here saw improved prices for quality store and forward heifers with 390kg Limousins at one end of the weight spectrum making €2.69/kg, while at the heavier end 585kg Charolais stock came into €2.39/kg. Among the cull cows the better suckler continental types clocked in at between €1.60-2.06/kg, while cows with calves at foot sold from €1,040-1,720/hd. Prices for quality weanlings were maintained with a 270kg Charolais bull hitting one of the better returns at €3.20/kg, however plainer stock were a "harder sell".
A large entry of stock saw prices hold firm with beef and forward bullocks selling from €650-980/hd over the €/kg. Continental store bullocks made from €470-820/hd over their weight, while Friesian bullocks made from €220-560/hd over their weight. Beef heifers sold from €550-980/hd over the weight with store heifers making from €320-780/hd over the weight. In the calf ring Friesian bulls sold from €60-190/hd, while continental bulls made from €225-460/hd. Continental heifer calves sold from €180-440/hd.
Prices for both bullocks and heifers were reckoned to be up by €30-40/hd here as buyers intensified their efforts to fill their quotas before the Christmas shut out. In the bullock ring a 443kg Charolais made €2.14/kg, however a 465kg Hereford at €2.25/kg might have been a better medium-term bet. The South Devon breed isn't overly popular in Ireland but at €2.17/kg for 530kg I'd be tempted to see how we'd get on. Demand for weanlings was strong with top prices averaging from €2.25-2.50/kg.
This was a big sale given the day of the year but trade was reported as "good all round for quality stock". Store bullocks under 400kg averaged €2.38/kg, while the 400-500kg bullock averaged €2.23/kg. Best price of the day among the bullocks however was 2.51/kg as given for a March 2016 born 495kg Charolais. That said the biggest individual cheque of the day was written for an 810kg Charolais at €1,950 which works out at €2.41/kg. The heifer trade also saw some cracking prices including the €2.66/kg paid for an August 2016 born 395kg Charolais.