Farm Ireland

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Heifers and weanling bulls take best of trade as prices tumble

Joe Healy

Heifers and weanling bulls enjoyed the best of the trade last week, while the weanling heifers had a mixed week and the steers a tough period too. This difficult patch saw price drops more or less across all weights.

Ringside reported an average price of between €2.00-2.10 for the heavy steers but they ranged from €1.77-2.30/kg. Forward stores made €1.63-2.38/kg, with 400-500kg types selling for €1.38-2.45/kg. Bull weanlings averaged around €2.30-2.35/kg, with the 400-500kg bulls selling for €2.02-2.76/kg. Top lots made up to €3/kg.

Weanling heifers ranged from €1.86 to €2.88/kg, with the average price of €2.30-2.33/kg being quite similar to the bulls. Two-year-old-plus heifers met with good demand. Heavy types over 600kg sold from €2.00-2.50/kg, while the 400-600kg lots made €1.90-2.57/kg. Store cull cows were selling from even money up to €250 over the weight. Fleshed lots made up to and over the €2/kg.

The drop in factory quotes plus the shortage of grass due to the very dry conditions being experienced in the southeast had a negative affect for the large entry of 1,120 cattle in Kilkenny. The plain lots, especially the Friesians, were the hardest hit. Heavy coloured steers over 600kg were selling for €1.90-2.45/kg or €600-1,020 with their weight. The 400-600kg lots sold for €1.80-2.63/kg, with the lighter stores making €1.50-2.65/kg or €220-630 over the €1/kg. Beef and butcher heifers made €1.90-2.30/kg. Stores made €1.90-2.50/kg.

Ballinakill Mart had around 500 cattle to sell and there was quieter trade all round, with the talk of poor factory prices affecting some of the cattle. The good quality stores are still in demand though, with bullocks from 350-500kg probably the best sellers at €1.75-2.60/kg. The heifers from 320-480kg were also selling very well, with prices ranging from €1.70 to €2.25/kg. Heavy steers were selling for €1.90-2.48/kg, with the fleshed Friesians in good demand. Forward stores made €1.80-2.55/kg. Fleshed heifers moved at €2.00-2.45/kg.

The cattle trade was described as easier at Dowra Mart on Saturday, with bullocks over 600 kg making €2.00-2.30/kg. Better quality lighter stores made €1.90-2.70/kg. Weanling bulls over 450kg made €2.00-2.50/kg. Lighter bulls were making €2.00-2.80/kg. A few fancy lots made €2.80-3.10/kg. Forward store heifers sold for €1.90-2.40/kg, with the lighter lots making from €1.80-2.65/kg.

Bullocks in Maam Cross sold for €2.50-3.15/kg. Heifers ranged from €1.92 to €2.30/kg. A mixture of quality saw prices for the weanlings vary from €1.80 to €3.55/kg. Cull cows made €1.25-1.80/kg, with a top price of €1,290. Suckler cows with a calf at foot made from €1,210 to €1,520/unit.

Balla Mart held its special bullock sale last Saturday. Prices for bullocks were up €50-60 on the previous week, especially for the quality stores which were making €800-1,000 with their weight. Lighter plainer types were making around €500-700 over their weights. Heavy bullocks were making from €1.03-3.07/kg; lighter types made €1.32-3.46/kg.

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Top class bulls over 600kg in Raphoe were selling for €495-1,120 over the weight. Beef bullocks made €560-825 over. Stores were selling for €320-915 over their weight. Fleshed heifers ranged from €500-1,060. Store heifers sold for €280-895 with the weight. Prices for cull cows ran from €700 to €1,580.

Bullocks under 400kg at Ballymote were making €350-655 over their weight. Lots between 400-500kg made from €400 to €765 over. Heavier lots sold for €480-710 over.

The 400-500kg lots made from €400 to €725 over the €1/kg. Heifers over 500kg made €450-830 with their weight. Heavy cull cows traded at €400-800 over the weight, while feeders made €1.00-250 over.

At the mart's annual weanling show and sale, the heavier bulls made up to €1,010 with their weight.

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