Buoy­ant mart prices slow suck­ler de­cline

Irish Independent - Farming - - Front Page -

A BUOY­ANT mart trade with strong prices be­ing paid for all types of stock could coun­ter­act the fall­ing trend in the suck­ler herd, a Bord Bia mar­ket an­a­lyst has sug­gested.

While a com­plete halt to the de­cline in the na­tional herd is not likely, the strong trade could re­sult in a lev­el­ling off of the fall this year, beef an­a­lyst Joe Burke said.

“It is very en­cour­ag­ing for suck­ler farm­ers to be get­ting strong prices for their an­i­mals this year,” he said. “In spite of the slug­gish de­mand for fin­ished cat­tle, there are high prices be­ing paid for fancy type cat­tle from the suck­ler herd.

“ The strong mart trade for all types of cat­tle from freshly calved cows to bulling heifers could en­tice suck­ler men to bull a few ex­tra heifers.”

The suck­ler herd de­clined by an es­ti­mated 50,000hd last year but Mr Burke said it was too early to pre­dict what the de­cline would be for this year.

Mean­while the ex­port trade con­tin­ues to lag be­hind last year, mainly due to the higher price of Ir­ish calves and cat­tle.

Wean­ling ex­ports are down by 4,697hd, or some 27pc, while store ex­ports are down 3,385hd (42pc), ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Bord Bia fig­ures.

Live ex­ports of calves are run­ning 25,300hd (37pc) be­hind last year’s lev­els, while the num­ber of fin­ished stock ex­ported is down 4,,769hd (27pc).

“Our com­pet­i­tive­ness for ex­ports has been eroded,” said Mr Burke. “Feed­lots that were im­pressed by the qual­ity of Ir­ish cat­tle, by their feed con­ver­sion ef­fi­ciency and health sta­tus are turned off by the higher price this year.”

While the 38,000hd drop in live ex­ports was not sig­nif­i­cant enough to af­fect the beef trade at the mo­ment, it could re­sult in an in­crease in beef cat­tle sup­plies by late 2012.

“ There will also be a big­ger sup­ply of dairy cat­tle in the com­ing years,” he said.

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