Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

Prices for weanling bulls at marts down €200/hd since 2012

Imelda Vaughan's specimens line up at Carnew Mart. They made prices from x to y. Photo Roger Jones
Imelda Vaughan's specimens line up at Carnew Mart. They made prices from x to y. Photo Roger Jones
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

The Irish Independent receives data from marts on a daily basis. This data describes every animal put up for sale at these marts since November 2011.

This analysis focuses on animals sold between November of 2011 and November of 2016 to identify the average price per kilo and how it has evolved over this time period.

Suckler Farmers are getting €200/hd less for their weanling bulls today than they did five years ago, a survey of the Ringside price averages shows.

While between €2.41/kg and €2.59/kg was paid for weanling bulls in the early months of 2012, current price averages are holding at around €2.06-2.09/kg.

This 50c/kg differential equates to €200/ hd on a 400kg weanling. Like the steer and heifer trade, weanling prices varied considerably over the last five years.

Indeed, by the back-end of 2012 prices had collapsed on the back of a sharp downturn in factory prices. The weanling mart average of €2.59/kg in March 2012 hit €1.91/kg by November as extra numbers came on stream.

2013 saw average prices for bull weanlings bob along from €2.15/kg to the low €2.20s/ kg, although average prices in both May and November hit a year low of €2.05/kg.

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This recovery was enough to see shipping numbers again decline, but farmer confidence and finance had taken a battering so despite 2013 seeing factory prices head over €4.50/kg by midsummer, caution was the watch word.

Which was prudent as factory prices hit a new low of €3.50/kg in the autumn. The trade in early to mid 2014 continued to slide, with prices from May to July not getting much above €2.02-2.03/kg on average.

Numbers of live exports averaged in the 7,500hd per quarter for 2014. Indeed, things would not improve greatly until October as factory prices gradually breathed some life back into the trade so that by the end of December prices on average stood at €2.24/kg.

And so it was that as 2015 began confidence in the trade began to return as buyers noted further improvements in the factory price. In April prices hit €2.40-2.50/kg, but dipped back to €2.31/kg in November.

Live exports

Live shipping accounted for 21,400hd over the entire year. 2016 began with prices up slightly on the previous January at €2.26/kg. However, there was trouble ahead.

As beef stagnated at €3.90/kg for steers for nearly four months in early 2016, bull weanling prices between February and May bounced around from €2.00/kg to €2.26/kg.

The opening of the Turkish market saw close to 20,000hd shipped in the latter half of the year and this helped the trade stabilise at between €2.20-2.25/kg. However, as that trade ended, prices in November and December slid back to between €2.06/kg and €2.09/kg.

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