Farm Ireland

Monday 22 January 2018

Mart Trade: Prices ‘steady’ overall but poor quality heifers take a €200/hd hit

Breed LMX .DOB 16/04/16. Weight 410kg . Price €1000. Photo Roger Jones.
Breed LMX .DOB 16/04/16. Weight 410kg . Price €1000. Photo Roger Jones.
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

PRICES at the marts last week stabilised, with a lot of mart managers reporting prices as “steady” across all classes as spring numbers began to reach peak levels.

This would definitely appear to be the case when looking at the Ringside figures for the bullocks as their averages remained either unchanged — as in the case of the 600kg+ animal — or fluctuated up or down by 3c/kg across the remainder.

Those going up were restricted to the 300-399kg weight bracket whose average now sits at €2.55/kg or €765-1,017/hd after that 3c/kg increase. While the remaining two weight divisions declined by 3c/kg or from €12-15/hd in the case of the 400-499kg bullock and €15-18/hd in the 500-599kg section, I am very tempted not to read anything overly negative into these figures given the time of year.

That said, a couple of farmer agents who had contracts to fill over the next month did tell me that prices had “ got out of hand and out of bounds” two weeks ago. The heifer classes had a very mixed week with both the lightest and heaviest sections getting the worst of it.

The 350-399/kg heifer lost 7c/ kg on average, that’s €24-28/ hd, while the 600kg+ heifer fell back by 10c/kg or a minimum of €60/hd.

That’s a big wobble at a time when factory prices are firm to improving and with the talk around the trade being that beef may yet run a little scarce towards the middle of the year.

Closer inspection of the figures reveals that the major culprit were the poorer quality animals who turned up last week with their numbers seeing a very significant price reduction at 36c/kg or €216/hd.

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That’s serious money any day of the year. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom among those heavier heifers with the top quarter in the quality stakes lifting 1c/kg or €6/hd to an average of €2.42/kg or €1,452/hd.

The bull weanling trade which up until last week was ticking along very nicely has come back down to earth with a sizable bump judging by last week’s Ringside returns.

The 100-299kg bull fell on average by 19c/kg last week, or €19-57/hd, while the 300-399kg animal eased back by 8c/kg or €24-32/hd. Both of these sections would have seen considerable action over the last month or two in relation to the Turkish export trade. Now with the majority of the numbers required for the latest shipment assembled, the trade has eased back.

A side effect of all the recent activity was that even bulls outside of those qualifying weights had seen a lift in their price purely on the back of what their lighter comrades were making. Now that those contracts are nearly full (for now) the spring is bouncing back, with the average price of 400-600kg bull falling by 17c/kg or €68-102/ hd to €2.14/kg or from €856- 1,284/hd.

That said the price of your better quality Belgian Blue, Limousin and Charolais at this weight still runs from €2.54/kg to €2.72/kg

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