The surge in cattle prices mentioned in this column in recent weeks has unravelled as the days passed by.
The major looser was the forward store animal, with the 600kg bullock dropping 6c/kg on average over the week that’s €36/hd, while the 500-600kg animal fell by a more modest 2c/kg or €10-12/ kg.
The point is not that these falls were earth shattering, but in a week when beef prices were in effect going up by 5-10c/kg at the factories it just shows the influence factors outside of factory and retail demand can have.
The 600kg+ heifer suffered even worse loosing an average of 9c/kg or €54/hd. In her case I exclude the weather as the major factor in the €54/hd fall - after all at that weight she’s either going to end up on a hook more or less immediately or go for further shed feeding.
Everything in the bullock section under 500kgs showed an improvement as grass buyers pushed prices forward especially for the 400-500kgs animal whose average price rose last week 3c/kg or from €12-15/hd, while the 300- 399kg bullock saw a more modest average increase of just €3-4/hd.
Granted the weather and ground conditions didn’t help the trade, taking some potential buyers out of the equation, but these seem to have been at least balanced by the reduced numbers of stock who were turned out last week for sale, resulting in those modest price increases for what stock was about.
There is no denying the effect the “Turkish factor” is having on the weanling trade, with prices last week for bull weanlings from 100-400kgs surging 7c/kg on average or €7-28/hd with the top of the 100-300kg section seeing an 11c/kg increase that’s €11-33/ hd increase.
Those bulls who fall outside the weight spec for Turkey also saw their price lift last week. Maybe there was a bit of a “rising tide lifts all boats” about it but the reality is that with beef lifting at the factories heavier bulls suitable for further feeding are in demand.
The weanling heifer on the other hand had a rather poor week with the 100-299kg heifer up by 3c/kg on average, while 400-550kg heifer dropped 13c/kg on average which is a rather nasty €52- 71/hd.
The 300-399kg heifer didn’t fare as badly but still lost 5c/kg or €15-20/hd on average. So with Cheltenham over, the weather possibly beginning to steady up, and the Brazilians having blotted their export copy book, all seems set fair for an interesting spring at the marts.