Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 March 2018

Weanling trade on the bounce due to 'faith' in Turkish contracts

Photo: Roger Jones
Photo: Roger Jones
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

I HAVEN’T analysed the weanling trade in detail over the last few weeks so today we will take a closer look. The trade was in the doldrums for much of January as a lack of export markets, coupled with the traditional seasonal lull, left the weanling neglected.

There are signs now - at least at the lighter weights - that the bull is beginning to break out of the trading leth­argy. The 100-299/kg bull is up on average 15c/kg over the last two weeks to €2.29/kg, which translates into €229- 684/hd versus €214-639/hd two weeks ago.

The most marked increase across the whole spectrum of bulls is in the bottom quarter of the 100-299kg animals with last week’s 13c/kg increase giving an overall increase of €31-93/hd in the last fort­night. That’s nice money on a cold day in February.

But the going gets tougher the further up the weights you go, with the average price of the 300-400kg bull falling 8c/ kg last week after he had gained 5c/kg the week before.

The story in the 400-600kg section isn’t any better, with prices back 5c/kg on aver­age over the last two weeks despite mart managers saying that farmer buyers have ex­pressed interest in acquiring heavier bulls.

Last week’s average for those heavier 400-600kg bulls was back 5c/kg or from €20- 30/hd and ended up sitting on €2.19/kg or from €876-1,314/ hd.

The weanling heifer trade, however, is a different story. Like daffodils and snowdrops in early spring they brought much cheer last week as their prices rose quite dramatically across all classes.

Bear in mind that the best that could said about the weanling heifer price two weeks ago was that after falling across all classes it was possibly due a bit of a bounce.

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Averages are up from 13- 22c/kg, while the top quarter of the 100-299kg animal rose 23c/kg, with the top quarter of the heavier 400-550kg heif­er up even more at 35c/kg.

The section with the least gain last week was the better 300-399kg heifer weanling who gained a modest 5c/kg but that still is €15-20/hd, and not forgetting that the average increase across all breeds in this division was a very respectable 14c/kg or €42-56/hd.

Turkish trade

These figures are in line with even some of the more fancy prices that were achieved at marts across the country last week, with both Ballinasloe and Castlerea for example both reporting an improved trade for weanlings but especially for the heifer weanling. line with the above figures.

The question is of course what has caused this very dramatic turn around. The word ringside is that faith in a continuation of trade with Turkey remains strong.

Mart mangers told me over the weekend that shippers, while not actually having signed contracts with Turkish agencies, are confident enough that they are buying early to cover possible more serious mart price surges as well as getting in early to fill the quarantine requirements on Irish holdings.

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