Farm Ireland

Sunday 19 November 2017

Why prices at dairy heifer sales have 'cooled considerably'

All of the country's dairy farmers are to be signed up for the SDA by the end of 2015
All of the country's dairy farmers are to be signed up for the SDA by the end of 2015

Tighter cash-flow and the latest fall in sterling has hit local dairy heifer sales and exports.

Mallow-based exporter Bertie Troy said the market had performed strongly from July to the end of October but demand had cooled considerably following the recent sharp drop in the sterling exchange rate against the euro.

Demand had recovered from the post-Brexit negativity as a result of improved milk prices in Britain in late summer and through the autumn, Troy explained.

However, sterling's latest fall had "cooled the market" once more, with British dairy farmers reluctant to pay the higher prices flowing an exchange rate of 90p to the euro, he added.

Troy said the majority of heifers were making from €1,150/hd to €1,250/hd, depending on EBI and the calving date.

Fellow Cork trader, Denis Barrett, described the current dairy market as "very mixed and very varied."

He said there was little farm-to-farm trade but in-calf heifers were generally making from €900 to €1,100/hd.

He said nice calved heifers were making from €1,500 to €1,800/hd, with real special heifers breaking the €2,000/hd barrier.

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He claimed tight cashflow meant most dairy farmers were unwilling or unable to carry in-calf heifers over the winter and this was undermining the trade.

But he predicted strong demand for heifers in January and February, once milk and revenues were flowing again on farms.

Meanwhile, a recent dairy sale at Kilmallock Mart bucked the trend, with a 99pc clearance of stock for the 155 lots offered.

Calved heifers sold for €1,500 to €3,300/hd. Prices for spring calvers ranged from €1,000 to €1,340/hd, with around €1,200/hd taking out a sizeable proportion of the entries.

Breeding heifers made from €600 to €700/hd.

Denis Kirby of Kilmallock Mart said the 42 buyers were from all over the country.

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