Price gap starts to show in cost of quality stock
A wider gap is becoming evident between top quality cattle and plainer stock in the marts as the effect of the factory quality payment system begins to trickle down the supply chain.
Several marts are reporting a bigger price gap between top-quality cattle and lesser-quality animals as farmers opt for cattle that will return money on the new price grid.
Dowra Mart manager Kerry McGovern maintained that there was considerable evidence that farmers were buying animals based on the factory price grid.
"The price difference is very evident, with farmers leaving poor-quality animals behind and going for the fancier type," he said.
The mart manager quoted weanling heifer prices of €350-400 over the weight for top-quality animals of 300-350kg but €500-600 over for fancier types.
A big variation in bull weanling prices had developed since the grid was introduced, he said. "Everyone is saying that the day of plain cattle is gone," he said. "The grid is definitely affecting them."
Age is also a factor for buyers, with many anxious to secure stock under 30 months and those that would qualify for the quality assurance bonus of 6c/kg.
Sean Ryan, from Athenry Mart, said the difference between good-quality cattle and plainer types was more noticeable now than at the back end of the year. He quoted a difference of €200/hd between top-quality cattle and lesser-quality animals.