Down­wards pres­sure on au­tumn bul­lock trade

Irish Independent - Farming - - BEEF RINGSIDE -

PRICES ring­side took a tum­ble two weeks ago as poor weather con­di­tions and con­tin­ued down­ward pres­sure on fac­tory prices co­in­cided with in­creas­ing num­bers of farm­ers de­cid­ing to move cat­tle onto the mar­ket.

Yet there were still some glim­mers of op­ti­mism. Last week those price falls were largely re­versed in the heifer sec­tion, while among the bul­locks there was pos­i­tive move­ment at both the lighter and heav­ier ends of the weight spec­trum. Over­all how­ever, the bul­lock trade is start­ing to come un­der pres­sure.

To the heifers first, though. Over­all av­er­age prices from 350-600kg rose last week by a min­i­mum of 1c/kg or €4-5/hd as in the case of the 400-499kg sec­tion, while the 500-599kg sec­tion in­creased by 7c/kg or €35-42/hd.

Look­ing closer, you see the main ben­e­fi­ciary was the top quar­ter or bet­ter-qual­ity heifer as she im­proved by 6c/kg in the 400-499kg sec­tion, 12c/kg in the 500-599kg sec­tion and 15c/kg in the 600kg+divi­sion. That works out at a max­i­mum of €30, €72 and €90/hd across those three weight di­vi­sions.

The poorer-qual­ity heifer in the 600kg+ sec­tion got well and truly wal­loped last week, los­ing on av­er­age 23c/kg, or €138/hd. How­ever, the 15c/kg gain for the bet­ter heifer helped re­duce the over­all av­er­age loss to just 3c/ kg or €18c/hd.

The 600kg heifer at last week’s av­er­age price of €2.12/kg is still €36/hd ahead of where she was in mid-Au­gust.

The bul­lock ta­ble, how­ever, re­flects an au­tumn trade that is start­ing to come un­der pres­sure.

Look­ing at how the ring­side ta­bles have fluc­tu­ated over the last two weeks, you see that the pres­sure is def­i­nitely down­wards de­spite the odd pos­i­tive re­turn here and there.

Those positives last week in­cluded a 2c/kg in­crease in the price of the bet­ter qual­ity 600kg+ bul­lock and the 300399kg bul­lock re­gain­ing 6c/kg of the 9c/kg he lost two weeks.

The con­so­la­tion for those with au­tumn stores from 400600kgs to sell is that de­spite all the neg­a­tive talk about mart prices com­ing un­der pres­sure, the av­er­ages in those 400-600kg sec­tions ap­pear to be de­clin­ing only slowly from 1-5c/kg over the last two weeks.

The other thing to be taken into ac­count is that look­ing at this week’s mart re­ports, you will see that mart man­agers feel that the good bul­lock is hold­ing his own and then some. How­ever, the Friesian’s per­for­mance is un­der pres­sure, with the Hol­stein-Friesian fall­ing back to €1.50/kg and less in places.

The fact is as the au­tumn goes on you may see a sig­nif­i­cant price gap open up be­tween those poorer black and whites and ev­ery­thing else.

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