Farm Ireland

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Trade boost sparks weanling price rise

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Weanling prices have bounced back over the past week as stronger competition between shippers and farmers has pushed on prices.

Although the prices paid by shippers for top-quality stock had eased over the past month, mart managers said increased farmer buying was helping to put more life in the trade.

Ennis Mart manager Martin McNamara said the price differential across the various grades of stock had widened this year, as finishers and shippers battled for better-quality lots.

"More farmers are opting for quality this year because of the grid, keeping the pressure on shippers," Mr McNamara said.

He said farmers were paying 300-330kg for bulls -- up to 750/hd.

Five of the leading shippers were represented in Carrigallen Mart, Co Leitrim, on Saturday.

The vast bulk of the weanling bulls on offer sold for €280-400 over the €1/kg but some fancy prices were paid for top-quality stock.

Exporters were hunting the best of the continental bulls and this was reflected in the sales sheets. One 500kg Belgian Blue bull sold for €1,120, while a 415kg animal made €1,270.

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Lighter bulls were also in demand. One 290kg Charolais sold for €785 -- almost €500 along with the €1/kg.

Carrigallen Mart manager Helen Kells pointed out that some plainer sorts sold back to €250 along with their weight. However, she described the overall trade as brisk.

Farmer buyers were particularly active in the heifer rings, where better quality stock made up to €400 with their weight.

Plainer quality heifers sold back to €200 along with their weight, but at the other end of the spectrum €1,020 was paid for a 446kg Belgian Blue.

Meanwhile, IFA livestock chairman Michael Doran said beef producers across Europe would not be able to sustain uneconomic cattle prices.

The IFA livestock leader said all of Europe's leading producer countries -- Spain, France, Ireland and Italy -- are concerned about the serious risk of a drastic reduction in beef production across Europe with significant consequences for food security.

Irish Independent