The Martwatch Team was in Kilcullen Mart this week with our cameras capturing a brisk trade.
The weanling trade was in the doldrums for much of January as a lack of export markets, coupled with the traditional seasonal lull, left the weanling neglected.
There are signs now - at least at the lighter weights - that the bull is beginning to break out of the trading lethargy. The 100-299/kg bull is up on average 15c/kg over the last two weeks to €2.29/kg, which translates into €229- 684/hd versus €214-639/hd two weeks ago.
The most marked increase across the whole spectrum of bulls is in the bottom quarter of the 100-299kg animals with last week’s 13c/kg increase giving an overall increase of €31-93/hd in the last fortnight. That’s nice money on a cold day in February.
But the going gets tougher the further up the weights you go, with the average price of the 300-400kg bull falling 8c/ kg last week after he had gained 5c/kg the week before.
The story in the 400-600kg section isn’t any better, with prices back 5c/kg on average over the last two weeks despite mart managers saying that farmer buyers have expressed interest in acquiring heavier bulls.
Last week’s average for those heavier 400-600kg bulls was back 5c/kg or from €20- 30/hd and ended up sitting on €2.19/kg or from €876-1,314/ hd.
The weanling heifer trade, however, is a different story. Like daffodils and snowdrops in early spring they brought much cheer last week as their prices rose quite dramatically across all classes.
Bear in mind that the best that could said about the weanling heifer price two weeks ago was that after falling across all classes it was possibly due a bit of a bounce.
Averages are up from 13- 22c/kg, while the top quarter of the 100-299kg animal rose 23c/kg, with the top quarter of the heavier 400-550kg heifer up even more at 35c/kg.
The section with the least gain last week was the better 300-399kg heifer weanling who gained a modest 5c/kg but that still is €15-20/hd, and not forgetting that the average increase across all breeds in this division was a very respectable 14c/kg or €42-56/hd.