Marts: Trade locked in a one step forward, one step back cycle
Gallery: Pictures and Prices from Ballyjamesduff
Looking at the Ringside figures for last few weeks you can detect a broadly cyclical trend to the trade.
A pattern of progress one week seems to be followed almost religiously by a step back in average prices the next.
Last week it was the turn of the heifer to go into reverse following a good showing two weeks ago.
The bullock trade, on the other hand, recovered last week after taking a hit a fortnight earlier.
There are exceptions of course; pulling against the current of downward prices in the heifer section is the 600kg+ animal who I predicted here last week would recover following average losses of 8c/kg or €48/hd two weeks ago.
While her overall average is up only 3c/kg or €18/hd, the price of the lesser conformation animal at this weight improved last week by 14c/kg or a minimum of €84/hd. That's a big jump.
In the bullock section, meanwhile, the 300-399kg animal went into decline last week loosing on average 7c/kg or from €21-28/hd, while the poorer animal at this weight fell 11c/kg or €33-44/hd.
The 300-399kg bullock at present is probably suffering more than most on the Ringside table as his price seems to be finding it harder to bounce back after a tough week.
The reason for this is simple, buyers are looking at these younger animals in the context of increased numbers of dairy types at this weight, coupled with the expense of bringing them over the winter.
To many it's a combination that has little to recommend it.
The Friesian at this weight averaged €1.38/kg last week; that's from €414-550/hd.
Once you slip back into Holstein country you're at €1.18/kg or from €354/hd to €471/hd.
The market is saying the potential to properly beef these animals is just not there.
This fact is hammered home when you compare the average price of your continental animal at this weight to that of the Friesian.
He's a full a full €1/kg ahead at €2.38/kg. That's between €300 and €399 an animal.
You'd buy a lot of feed for that amount of money if you had a mind to buy those Friesians -but would it pay?
In the know
Maurice Brosnan, measures progress in the longer sense. His conclusion on the overall mart trade is that "prices are up €50/hd in a month". The movers here last week were the "good heavy bullock", an example being a 750kg Charolais that clicked €2.19/kg and the "polly" or Aberdeen Angus store who saw his price recover to €2.00/kg. In places a shake more was paid for these bullocks, as in four together who made €2.03/kg. Also moving very well were cull cows, with €2.00/kg a benchmark for the better cow, while young continental store cows were "a great trade". The only section suffering Maurice reckoned is the "plain light Friesian".
Numbers of weanlings eased somewhat here last week which, coupled with a very active farmer trade, resulted in a lively sale. Reared calves sold in the region of €400/hd for Hereford and Angus types, while the lighter single suckled 250-300kg bull weanling sold from €2.25-3.10/kg. The lighter heifer was also strong, with her price ranging from €2.20/kg to €2.75/kg. Moving up the weights in the bull section, 400-430kg plainer Limousin and Charolais types sold for €2.00-2.12/kg, while better conformation bulls of the same breed and weight saw prices in the region of €2.50-2.60/kg.
Numbers were also easier here overall, though the general tone of the trade was one of improvement. Among the notable prices was a 413kg Charolais heifer making €940, while her 370kg cousin closed to with €10 of her at €930. Aberdeen Angus heifers hovered in and around €2.00/kg, while a single Simmental of 776kgs saw the hammer fall at €1,500. The bullock trade saw Angus range from €2.00/kg to €2.10/kg, with Friesian stores selling for €1.50-1.60/kg.
The quality bullock and heifer invariably commands the top price. That price among the heavier continental bullocks was the €2.39/kg paid for a 610kg Charolais, while in the heifer ring it was the €2.26/kg achieved by a 605kg Limousin-cross. Top of the quality stakes in the bullocks at the other end of the weight scales (i.e. under 400kgs) saw €2.94/kg given for a 360kg Limousin.
In the 400-500kg bullock section you were operating between €2.00-2.42/kg, with the 500-600 bullock section topping out around €2.25/kg.
5 baltinglass Joe Kinsella reckoned the bullock trade was "improved by €60-80/hd" as buyers gathered themselves for the charge into Christmas and shrinking sales numbers. As always marts throw up some interesting propositions when attempting to fill that shed or factory lorry. Here it was the 670kg Friesian at €1,180 versus the 590kg Belgian Blue also at €1,180. At €30 less on €1,150 was a 530kg Charolais. It's not simple is it? Value versus realisable profit is always a very complicated equation. Less complicated, however, is the reality that the cull cow market is strengthening, here an 800kg Charolais saw the hammer drop at €1,500.
The general run of prices here whether for bullocks or heifers started around the €2.00/kg mark. Among the bullocks at the lighter end were the stores under 400kgs which sold from €420-685/hd over the €1/kg. In the 500-550kg section prices ran from €560-800/hd over the €1/kg, with beef and more forward types hitting a top of €900/hd with the weight.
Top of the beef and forward heifer market was €790/hd with the €1/kg, with store heifers selling from €400-640/hd with the weight. The calf trade saw Friesian bulls sell from €80/hd to €150/hd, with Continentals topping out at €385/hd. Aberdeen Angus bulls made from €130/hd to €340/hd.
For Stories Like This and More
Download the Free Farming Independent App