Sellers hope sun can get prices rising
THE message from the marts last week was one of “measured f luctuations”, especially among the prices for bullocks and heifers.
Overall the trade for bullocks and heifers saw average prices continue to move up or down within tight enough bands.
The greatest average increases came in the value of the poorer-quality 600kg animal as he rose 7c/kg or €42/hd, with the next best improvement (5c/kg, €25-30/ hd) coming among the 500599kg segment on the heifer table.
The 6c/kg increase in the 300-399kg division on the bullock table equates to an €18-24/hd increase.
On the negative side the falls were less dramatic as the majority of movements were limited to 1-3c/kg, although the 400-499kg bullock did drop back by €1620/hd or 4c/kg.
The 400-499kg section was also the worst performer on the heifer table, losing 3c/kg, €12-15/hd across all sections.
So despite 2018 tripping into the calendar summer season last week, those with cattle to buy for grazing continue to act with caution.
It will be interesting to see whether the good weather that appeared over the weekend will change things, because a lot of the average mart prices currently being paid are only marginally better than those paid two months ago.
On the weanling side, heifer prices rose sharply but bulls slipped back.
Average overall prices for heifers stayed steady — in the case of your 300-399kg animal — or rose sharply, as they did in the 100-299kg section, up 14c/kg or €14-42/ hd. Meanwhile, the 400550kg heifer pushed on even more, gaining 18c/kg last week, an impressive €72-99/ hd.
Despite good farmer and shipper interest, the bull weanling over the last two weeks has not had the best of it. Part of the reason is that farmer buyers have been waiting for the weather to pick up so as to avail of the cheapest of feeds - grass. This has resulted in the shipping boys not being pushed as hard as they might.
Last week’s overall averages saw the 100-299kg bull weanling make €2.39/ kg or from €239-715/hd, with the 300-399kg bull averaging from €687-914/hd at €2.29/ kg, while 400-600g animal took the worst of the price battering meted ringside last week.
His overall average price of €2.19/kg was back 16c/kg on the previous week, while the poorer-quality animal at this weight got hammered by 27c/ kg and ended up at €1.77/kg.
On the matter of recent feed price increases, a buyer of select bulls for fattening summed up the lack of control felt by both buyers and sellers at marts.
“To have an animal that will bring in the money whether at the mart or the factory, you have to feed,” he said. “That feed bill has to be paid but it can take months for factory prices to go up but the millers can slap €15 or €20/t onto feed prices in a week and there’s not a word.”