Bad weather lands body blow to beef prices
PADDY Power bookmakers were so certain that they paid out in advance of the much-touted Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather contest.
They weighed up the odds and it brought them to one conclusion, a Mayweather win, with no exceptions.
McGregor vs Mayweather is to boxing what the cattle trade vs bad weather is to mart prices — a foregone conclusion that equals falling prices.
The trade has seen a fair share of movement over the last few weeks as nervousness around a weakening sterling, falling factory prices and increasing mart numbers all played their part in setting the market tone. The single biggest factor though as we head into September has to be the weather.
Leaving the deluge that fell on parts of the north-west last week aside, ground conditions across the country have been deteriorating for about three weeks. This has been due more to the fact that drying conditions have been very poor as opposed to any single big rain event; it’s been a case of a little but often in many places.
Three weeks ago mart prices fell back, two weeks ago they rebounded and last week they once again went into decline.
There was no escaping the feeling at a lot of marts last week that autumn is coming.
An overview of the ringside figures for last week does give some room for optimism. Firstly the overall average falls among the bullocks is only between 2-3c/kg or from €6-15/hd, with the average of the 500-599kg section holding steady at €2.02/ kg. Secondly, the majority of the heifer weight divisions fell last week by between 2-8c/kg or from €8-42/hd. However, the 600kg+ heifer continued where she left off two weeks ago and again posted a positive return, adding 6c/kg or €36/hd to her overall average.
Added to her 3c/kg rise of two weeks ago, she’s up a nice touch at €54/hd over those two weeks.
More significant still is the fact that the poorer quality heifer rose 18c/kg last week which is an impressive €108/hd.
As always at this time of year, the spin from the factories is that beef prices have to fall back if men are going to be able to afford to put cattle into sheds.
The question is what type of bullock might pay the best at current prices if you intended finishing them inside.
Is it your average 500-599kg continental at €2.19/kg that works out at €1,095-1,312/hd or would the top of the Angus in that same 500-599kg weight division that offers a quicker return? At the top end, the average last week of €2.07/kg means the money would be less as well at €1,035-1,240/hd.
Or is it a case you’d go the long road and do as some traditional shed men have done over the last few years and ease back on winter finishing and concentrate on “storing” cattle over the winter aiming to finish off of grass early to mid summer?
In that case is the better Friesian the way to go?
In their case, the better mart price per kilo is at the heavier end of the table with the better 600kg+ Friesian making €1.87/ kg as opposed to €1.82/kg for the top end in the 300-399kg section.