Farm Ireland

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Calf trade the big surprise as prices hold into post-quota era

Joe Healy

A glance at Ringside will show you that the mart trade was quite positive over the past week, especially for the bullocks and heifers. Meanwhile the light weanling bulls and the better type weanling heifers also more than held their own.

Apart from these categories, the suck calves are the real surprise. Many had felt that after the first of April and the end of the quota regime, numbers would rocket and prices would collapse. Neither has happened so far as good weather helped to underpin the trade.

One manager said that he knows a number of farmer buyers who will wait until the weather is suitable for letting the calves off in a field before he buys. A few marts suggested that the trade was stronger last week than for a few previous weeks.

Dairy and suckler cows continue to sell well. The heavy steers were up by 3-8c/kg at €2.20-2.70/kg, while lots under 500kg were improved by 7-9c/kg and making from €2.30/kg to €3.00/kg in the main. Plainer types sold for €1.85-2.00/kg.

The heifer trade was up by anything from 1-13c/kg, with €2.30-2.85/kg buying most stock. Heifers over 600kg ranged from €2.20-2.60/kg. Lesser lots made from €1.80-2.15/kg.

Light bulls rose slightly to €2.50-3.20/kg but bulls over 300kg were back by 3-6c/kg at €2.35-2.90/kg. Poorer quality bulls sold for €1.80-2.05/kg. Prices for the plainer weanling heifers were down by 1-13c/kg at €2.16-2.45/kg but the nicer types were up by between 1-15c/kg. Lots under 300kg were selling for €2.90-3.50/kg with the 300-400kg types making from €2.70-3.30/kg. Heavier heifer weanlings made from €2.60-3.10/kg.

Dowra had 720 Cattle on offer last Saturday. Weanling bulls under 300kg were making €2.10-3.80/kg, with a few light fancy lots making up to and over €4.00/kg.

Bulls in the 300-400kg weight range made from €1.80-3.50/kg, while lots over 400kg sold from €2.00-2.80/kg. Store bullocks under 550kg were selling for €1.90-2.90/kg. Heavier types made €2.00-2.60/kg.

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In the weanling section, the light heifers under 300kg were making from €2.00-3.60/kg. The 300-400 kg lots made €2.00-3.50/kg. Heifers from 400-550kg ranged from €1.80-3.10/kg. The heavier types sold for €2.10-2.50/kg.

The best of the cull cows made from €1.90-2.30/kg, while store cows made from €1.20-2.00/kg. Suckler cows with a calf at foot varied from €1,500/unit to a top price of €2,300. In- calf cows made from €1,200-1,800.

Ballymote credited the recent spell of good weather for the increased farmer presence and activity at ringside, with a noticeable demand for Angus heifers and steers. The light store bullocks were generally selling for €320-740 with their weight. Steers over 400kg moved at €400-865 with the €1/kg.

The heifers over 400kg were selling for €450-880 with the weight, while lighter types made from €400-610/kg. The majority of the light weanling bulls and heifers sold for €300-600 over the €1/kg.

Heavier bulls made up to €740 with their weight, while the best of the heifers reached a high of €815 over. Suckler cows with a calf at foot were making €1,400-1,800/unit. Cull cows were making from €455-700 over their weight.

A large turnout of 1,550hd in Kilkenny met with an excellent trade for most categories. However, the plainer type Friesians were proving a tad more difficult to move. Heavy steers were making from €2.10-2.55/kg or €650-1,085 with the weight. Bullocks between 500-600kg sold for €1.85-2.70/kg, while the lighter lots made from €1.75/kg to €3.00/kg in the main, with real fancy lots making up to €3.30/kg. Beef heifers moved at €2.00-2.40/kg.

The general run of store heifers sold for €2.00-3.00/kg. Prices for continental cull cows ran from €1.50/kg to €2.19/kg. The Friesian cows sold for €1.25-1.90/kg. Sucklers with a calf at foot ranged from €1,400-2,240/unit.

Top class bulls over 600kg at Raphoe Mart were making €635-910 over their weight. Beef bullocks ranged from €945 to €1,050 over.

Indo Farming