Farm Ireland

Saturday 21 April 2018

Prices on the rise as lighter bullocks fare best ringside

Photo: Roger Jones.
Photo: Roger Jones.
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

 While last week saw a majority of marts swing back into action we are not yet at 100pc capacity.

That said, the ringside figures for last week compare favourably with my mini mart reports, especially among the lighter 300-399kg bullocks whose average price for last week was up 12c/kg or €36-48/hd on pre-Christmas prices.

The best of the 300-399kg bullocks moved up by 14c/kg to €2.56/kg, making €768- 1021/hd, with continentals in this section making €789- 1049/hd.

The poorer quality animal at this weight gained 22c/ kg on average last week to stand at €1.67/kg but that’s still a massive 89c/kg behind the better conformation animal – €267-355/ hd of a difference. Some difference.

I mentioned last week that the dairy influence that has crept into the production of beef breeds is on the verge of becoming a serious problem and these figures prove it.

Moving up the weights to the 400-499kg section we see the average price declined last week by 7c/kg to €1.98/kg, giving average prices from €792-988/hd.

However, here as in every steer weight category, there was some positive news -- all be it rather slight - at 1c/ kg increase in the top end averages to €2.37/kg.

A closer examination of the figures in this section reveals a curiosity. The average price of the better Friesian bullock in this section last week was exactly the same in euros per kilogram as the price of the poorer quality Hereford/Angus bullock at €1.76/kg.

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The question is if you were going to grass with both of them, as you probably might come March/April weather permitting, which would you rather have - the better conformation Friesian or the poorer made Hereford Angus? Remember, that both will cost the same to transport home or to the factory in due course and their mart fees will also be the same.

Back ringside, both the top quarter prices for the 500-599kg and the 600kg+ plus bullock improved last week by between 1-2c/kg or from €5-6/hd. Modest but positive.

Mart round-up


THE report from Balla in Mayo is that last week saw “a want on men for stock”. Store bullocks around 450kgs typically ranged from €1.47-2.41/kg, with those over 500kgs averaging from €1.93-2.36/ kg. In the heifer ring, store heifers made €1.79-2.36/kg, with breeding heifers selling from €1.69/kg to €2.38/kg. Trade for dry cows continues to hold strong, with prices averaging from €1.21/kg to €2.06/kg. The small show of weanlings saw prices range from €1.87/kg to €2.92/kg for lighter bulls, with heavier types making €1.90- 2.38/kg, while the heifer weanling calves made from €500/hd to €685/hd.


Trade at Balltinglass was reported as good for all types last Wednesday. Store bullocks in the 400-550kg weight bracket made €800-1205/hd, with 600-700kg stock seeing €2/kg as the base off of which the better animal could begin to trade. As consequence, this stock made from €1,180/hd to €1,540/hd. Store heifers in the 300-500kg bracket sold for €620- 1,190/hd, with heavier heifers making from €1,250/hd to €1,700/hd.


There was a lively trade for the 300 cattle on offer at Ballinakill. Forward store bullocks sold for €2.00-2.40/kg, with continental light stores selling from €2.10/kg to €2.55/kg. Beef heifers made €2.10-2.40/kg, with store heifers on €2.20-2.75/kg. Dry cows made from €1.20/kg to €1.80/kg.

Weanling bulls and heifers both worked off a base of €2.20/kg and topped out at €3.00/kg and €2.90/kg respectively.


Trade at Ennis saw a very good entry of cull cows and an equally good trade for same. Feeder cows were very much in demand, with prices for the better Friesians in the 450-550kg bracket typically going in the low to mid €1.50s, with the better continental feeder cow up to 600kgs ranging from about €1.70-1.90/kg with €2.00/kg on occasion being paid for the best of the heavier beef cows.


Castlerea as elsewhere saw trade resume for 2017 in or about where it finished in 2016, with prices opening no weaker and on occasion stronger than previously. Sample prices among the bullocks included a 450kg Charolais at €2.38/kg, while Limousins from 470kg to 590kg spanned the range from €2.20/kg to €2.30/kg, while in the heifer ring a 420kg Simmental made €2.81/kg, while a 455kg Belgian Blue made €2.53/kg. The trade for dry cows was firm with the best of the forward feeder offerings making close to, or just above, €2.00/kg, while 720- 840kg factory stock made €1.59-1.77/kg.


Raphoe also had a very good opening day’s trade for the start of 2017, with last week’s sale seeing prices moving a shade above pre-Christmas levels. Bulls and beef bullocks sold from €2.10/kg to €2.50/kg, with the lighter store/weanling types making up to €3.10/kg. Heifer prices mirrored the bulls and bullocks to some degree, with feeding and factory heifers making €2.10-2.60/kg, and lighter lots making up to €3.00/kg. re


Ballinrobe also had a good sale for the first sale of 2017 with bullock prices including €1,100 paid for a 550kg animal or €2/kg. Down in the weights at 335- 395kgs, Charolais’s were making from €2.51/kg to €2.66/kg. The heifer trade also saw plenty of activity where Charolais stock 355-395kg weight bracket made €2.19-2.39/kg. There was a full clearance among the dry cows, with prices typically ranging from €1.53/kg to €1.74/kg for 700-780kg Aberdeen Angus, Limousin and Simmentals.

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