Sell­ers hope sun can get prices ris­ing

Irish Independent - Farming - - BEEF RINGSIDE -

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.

Feed bills

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.”

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